I'm sitting in my living room 'studio,' surrounded by laptop, camera, crafting, and about ten cups of coffee, writing a short story. On mornings without data work, I become an unfocused, creative whirlwind. If I don't force myself to focus on one thing at a time, I accomplish nothing. Or half of ten things, if I'm lucky. Today, I am writing about a person who only owns thirty items.
The doorbell rings.
As stupid as it may sound, I always freak out when the doorbell rings. In my defense, this is the first functioning doorbell I've ever had, and it is an absurdly loud one at that. I always scream when mail is delivered. This is followed by the Thirty-Key Fumble (because I still haven't figured out exactly why I have thirty keys but only two doors), an inevitable "Aha!", and I open the door to see:
My landlord. (He's a real sweetheart; I kind of love him.)
It dawns on me, all of a sudden, that I have forgotten about the appointment with the realtor. Even if I had remembered, I wouldn't have expected one landlord, four realtors, and three potential buyers, give or take, all dressed to the nines and carrying large clip-pads.
I'm standing in the midst of all this, answering the door in a bewildered manner that plainly says "I have no idea why I'm here," as opposed to "welcome to my home, and come in." I had honestly meant to miss this appointment. You know, go downtown and wait for the realtor to have done with the thing.
My appearance doesn't help. They're wandering around my
I feel like an awkward teenager who is waiting for the parents to come home, and wish I was wearing something else. Anything else. The purple dress even. Tangent: Speaking of the purple dress:
I bought this dress over a year ago, and I have yet to wear it outside my apt. I rarely ever wear purple, pink, or floral, but for some reason I bought it anyway. I think it was the pockets that sold me on the thing. So what do you think? Would you wear it? Or is it too bright? (If you are a man, you are excused from participating.)
My landlord is trying to tell me something, and all I can think about is this quote from the Gilmore Girls. It's Rory's first day at Chilton, and Lorelai's clothes are all at the cleaners. They're late; she flies downstairs in cut-offs and ti-dye (I live in these things, actually), and Rory says, "I didn't know the rodeo was in town."
Someone else arrives. She asks me a question, and I mumble something about how, "I think I live here."
Now let me ask you: what do you do when your home is full of strangers with clip-pads, who are asking you things like, 'can I wear my shoes in the house' and 'do you mind if I look in there'? Or does this ever happen to you? Do you serve them coffee? I think this might be a very Danish thing to do, but it seems weird in my American way of thinking. I'll admit, when the housing market went bust and we were trying to sell The Fort (our South Carolina fixer-upper), I used to bake muffins when potential buyers would visit. I was desperately hoping this would convince someone to purchase our muffin-scented money-pit dump, and possibly distract them from realizing it was fifty years old and completely falling apart. And then, when they decided that no, they didn't want to repeat our mistakes, we at least had muffins to cheer us up.
That being said, I don't own a muffin pan in this country, nor am I responsible for making a sale. I just want to move to a cheaper apartment so I can save extra money and spend my last year's worth of weekends in Europe traveling. As much as I love watching the boats on the fjord and the sunset every evening (from my living room, no less), we don't need this much space. There is an entire bedroom in this apartment dedicated solely to Isaac's teepee. No really, there's nothing else in there. All of our clutter is in a storage unit in Georgia. Actually I think I sold everything that fell into the category of clutter when I entered my recent minimalist phase. Who needs all that stuff anyway, especially when you're a temporary resident in a foreign country. Which brings me to my third reason for wanting to move: it's about that time. Some deeply-rooted part of me has a yen for semi-nomadic living which is due, in part, to childhood cross-country road trips.
So no coffee then. Instead, I thank the stars I've taken the dictionary pages off the hallway doors and painted over the blue elephants I drew on Isaac's walls, pray no one will notice my green-and-white striped panties line-drying on the shelving unit near the oven (Life Without Dryer), and hide in my kitchen for the remaining forty-five minutes, trimming my chive plant until it is all but gone and organizing my tea cabinet. (Sadly, I'm almost out of Trader Joe's Mint Melange. Must buy more tea.)
To kill time (and feel less stupid while standing in a kitchen corner), I send Tim text messages about our multicultural lives. You know, it's a funny thing. We live in Denmark; his boss is Israeli and co-workers are Chinese, mine are American; our landlord is from Jordan; we go to a Vineyard church with people from all over Europe, Africa, the Philippines, and Venezuela; our child attends a Danish kindergarten; and the guy who lives downstairs is of unknown decent (we have a running bet about this guy because the fact of the matter is, he looks Japanese-Mexican).
We finish the conversation off by discussing Tim's paper in the Journal of Solid State Chemistry. I get a kick out of this paper because the title is: Thermoelectric transport properties of polycrystalline titanium diselenide co-intercalated with nickel and titanium using spark plasma sintering. Yep, he wrote that. (But what does it mean?!)
Finally they are all leaving. We say our goodbyes in two languages, and I go back to writing my short story about the person with thirty items. By the way, if you could only choose ten of your things to keep, which would they be? This isn't a fire drill; you have time to weigh out your options. Your family and pet are fine; the clothing you're wearing doesn't count. (I used to play these kinds of mind games as a child; I know how to cover my bases.) What ten things would you keep?
... And that was my Wednesday morning. How was yours?