Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – November 27, 2004
A Person’s Home Is Very Revealing
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – November 27, 2004 – I met a client for lunch today and then completed the last bit of my holiday shopping. I am done – gifts for all – and quite lovely ones at that. I won’t have pleased my brother. I’m guilty of giving him more stuff. In addition to the bottle of “aged” Port that I always wrap for him – I bought him another puddy for his cat collection and a great black and white photograph, also of a puddy.
So in spite of the fact that these gifts can’t be imbibed, eaten or listened to (as directed) – he’ll be secretly pleased amidst grumbles. When I got back home I made a cup of tea, retrieved my current murder thriller and sat down in front of the fireplace for a good read. The telephone interrupted my reverie. It was Big, mid-way through some client showings, and in need of some moral support.
She’d just come from a house with a basement apartment. She said that the guy who lived there must be a complete and utter slob. Filth was evident in every room, with the bathroom being the worst. Your imagination can supply the necessary details here. Even though no one was home, the television was blaring at eardrum bursting level, every inch of floor space was covered with junk and dirty dished covered with dried, uneaten food abounded in the kitchen. Big said that in spite of the chaos that it was actually great space.
Her final comment was, “How can anyone live like this?” It reminded me of dozens of houses I’ve been in over the years. Sometimes, I’ve actually met some of the people who live like this and they seem nice enough. Other times their personalities match their surroundings to a tee.
When I hung up the phone after Big rang off, I looked around my living and dining rooms and thought about how our living space reveals a lot about who we are. I wondered what a total stranger might surmise about me from what he or she saw in the main floor of my home. Once they got past the abundance of “things” they might conclude that I like colour, I’m very ordered, I’m a collector, I value antiques, I like leather, wrought iron and glass, my windows have lace curtains so I’m not hiding from the world behind dark, heavy drapes.
That might even indicate that I’m fairly open and trusting. I love candles and now that fireplace weather is here again, I light tea candles every night when I’m at home. I like quality things, creature comforts and my home reflects this. My house has an air of whimsy, it’s casual, warm and inviting, not at all serious. So does this mean that I’m nonchalant, humorous, organized, outgoing and a collector of things. Guilty. My recent confession that I’m a dishaholic supports this fact.
Now, the story of my, still to be de-cluttered and organized basement would point out the other aspects of my personality. The “out-of-sight out-of-mind”, procrastinator with a predilection to a pack rat nature, who is sometimes overwhelmed and racked with guilt. These polar personalities co-exist within me and are reflected in the way I live. That’s not a bad thing and I expect it’s typical of most people. You find this out when a friend says and means – “don’t ever open my hall closet door”. Hidden away inside will be all the things he or she doesn’t want to reveal to the world.
I thought about the homes of my close friends and family and some of the same things were true. All of them, whether condos or homes, are inviting, familiar and artistically furnished with unique art, bold or neutral colours and wonderful possessions that reflect who they are and how they see themselves in the world. The way we live says a lot more about us than we might imagine at first glance. I just took a walk through my home and I like it.
Another interesting thing is that the way we dress often doesn’t represent the way we live. I’ve seen fashion plates who live in deplorable pig pens and vice versa. All part of the enigma of human nature. What we hide and what we show. We reveal a lot more at every turn than we consciously realize.
Maybe I’ll just go back down to the living room and put up some drapes. On second thought, I’d be better to just delete chapters one through eleven of this year’s writing, if I’m trying to hide. I’ve really given away the store here, haven’t I? So what’s a dish or two and the odd panic attack between friends? You’re already acquainted with the Empress of Excuses, The Alphabet Boys and my treadmill – Howard. Now, if I can just get this corset done up by myself, I may reveal a bit more about my wardrobe to you tomorrow!