Since moving to Seattle, I’ve spent some time setting up a house, rather than a manageable place to live. Most of the other places I’ve lived have had elements of beauty–maps or prints on the walls, a soft blanket here or there. But I’ve never had the chance to build a household to spec until now.
When I was in college, it was easy to find serviceable stuff. The first house I lived in after leaving the dorms came stocked with 6 beds, 2 couches, 3 rice-makers and approximately 147 forks. All of it had been abandoned by other students, and our rat-landlord charged us to haul it out at the end of our lease. The experience of living around the flaws of the objects is useful, but because this time I had some time, I chose to create a house in Seattle where most of the objects fit my and Matthew’s patterns.
This has led to me realizing that there are things that do not come with houses. Somehow this far into adulthood I had always imagined some things just came with the lease. In no particular order, here are some of those things:
- Calvin and Hobbes bathroom books
- Cutting-boards wide enough to dice carrots on
- Wire shelving inserts
- Floor rugs
- A broom
These are all things that I saw in so many houses growing up that some part of my brain had reduced them to permanent objects that traveled through the world with houses. I never saw an adult buy a broom, or a wire-shelving insert. I watched my Mom buy rugs and magnets, but that there were refrigerators that existed in a pre-magnet state never rose to mind.
I spent the last few months slowly accumulating these things, along with baskets and boxes and coat-hanger-replacements. It has been a transitional adult moment, like the time I realized I should put a nail through the wall rather stick than a Command hook on it. Like the time I realized that buying meat for a fresh meal meant I needed to cook the meat that day.
There are restrictions that come with adult life that I’m starting to see from the inside. Meat goes bad if you don’t cook soon; crooked paintings are more annoying than spending the time to fix them is worth. And there are things that do not come with houses.
“[T]he world would be a better place if more engineers, like me, hated technology. The stuff I design, if I’m successful, nobody will ever notice. Things will just work, and be self-managing.” — Radia Perlman