Friday, March 07, 2014

The Power of Place

I hate filling out forms, of any kind. Absolutely hate it.
Recently, I had to fill out some rather lengthy forms for a top-level security clearance, for where I work. The thing had to be sent in to the government, and it has to be renewed every decade. I just handed the new one in, last week. Thankfully, this time around they sent along a transcript of my previous application, so I could just transcribe most of it onto the new one. But I noticed, from looking through the old one -- how many different places I had lived, on my way to here. Last time around, I had to do some research to recall all of my former addresses.
But this time?
Just the one place.

Some people need a house. A backyard. A lawn to mow. Trees to trim. Eaves to un-clutter. A fence to keep re-staining. Etc.
I don't.
When my toilet malfunctions, I just make a phone call, and when I get home from work, a new toilet is there, and stuff. A handyman, I am NOT.
It's like living in a hotel.
When my stove decided it was time to die, next day I had a new one.
Do I scrape ice off my car in the morning ever? No -- it sleeps in an underground heated garage.
Just today, a friend said to me, "I'm re-evaluating all sorts of things right now so I tend to feel most people should too, I suppose.  If you're comfortable, content... dare I say happy, then you are exactly where you should be."
Often when people say this kind of thing, they are not speaking of just "location". 

I understand that.
But tonight I am thinking of "location". Narrowing it down to that.
I'm not an adventurous person, really. I do not need "change" a lot. Fact is, I hate change -- even more than filling out forms!
Prior to living right here, in this particular downtown apartment, I lived in a large house, with a couple of great room-mates. Upstairs, downstairs, backyard, deck, fireplace. And they were great people to live with.
But then one of them got married, and we sort of… disbanded.
I drove around randomly in my car, looking for a new place to live, on my own.
As I drove through the downtown, I found myself pulling in to the parking lot of what I considered to be the ultimate SUPREME-O place I would like to live. And I rang up the superintendent. He told me that none of the apartments were available at the time, but he took down my name and number and said he would call if anything turned up.
I had little time to wait. My pal was getting married and all.
But I'll never forget when I got the call on my work cell-phone. Someone wanted out of their lease, right here in my preferred building. I immediately said, "I'll be right there!"

An hour later I walked into the elevator with him, and I remember thinking "Oh my God, I hope he presses the number to the top floor."
He did.
We exited the elevator.
And I remember then thinking, "Holy cripes! I hope he walks to one of the corner units."
And he did.
The place was still furnished, the previous tenant not at all out yet.
The entire front of it was window, looking out onto the city, from the top [14th, in actuality, the 13th, due to superstition] floor. Massive full-length balcony.
I tried to mask my excitement with a mild, "Yes, this might do the trick."
But I must admit, inside I felt as though I had hit the jackpot. I remember thinking, "Hell, I wish ALL my friends would get married!" [And they pretty much did!]
I had moments of doubt, after signing the agreement and prior to moving in.  

Would I really be able to live in such a small space? It's only a one-bedroom place.
Now, more than 17 years later, I am not wondering anything.
The question does arise, though:
Will I live here until I cease to….. live, anywhere?
My answer to my friend's question today is, "Well, I think I happily, could."
I'm "happy".  

I'm exactly where I should be.
And I think that is a powerful thing to be able to say.
There is a book by Winifred Gallagher, called The Power of Place -- and I've always wanted to read it. But I haven't done so, yet.
Maybe I will yet do so, one day.
Nestled here, on top of the city. Cat purring, yonder. 


1 comment:

Stefanie said...

I know what you mean. I am very happy in my little house in Minneapolis in which tall people could not be happy, the ceilings are low, the bathroom is the size of a closet, but I love it anyway, have lived there for 13 years now and don't want to move anywhere else. That book looks good I think I might have to read it sometime!