Monday, May 26, 2008

home on the range

I've had the occasion this week to venture into several homes of acquaintances. Each one has been fairly good sized, decorated beautifully in a way I could never fathom and which makes me want to ask who cleans all this shit but of course I don't. I gape in somewhat stuttered awe and each time think we can never invite anyone over who doesn't already know how we live, we don't have a couch, table, chair, dining room insert just about anything else and add dirty carpet to it and that'll sum it up. And yet I know it's just stuff and I know it's silly and it really isn't envy because I know we are focusing on a different sort of goal but it's odd to see people in my age group with homes like this or better said perhaps I will never be able to act my age and this fact needs to stop surprising me.

So because I have no tact it slipped out because while I know the woman I don't really know her husband, when I crossed the landing and took in the gigantic two story with leather couches and an island in the kitchen I said damn, K, you are such a freaking grown up and she laughed but her husband looked at me curiously, probably and safely noting to himself let's never go to that chick's house. ever.

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31 comments:

Loth said...

heh, I'm not a grown up either. My curtains came with the house. Come to think of it, so did my bed and duvet cover. I have had a partly finished kitchen floor for 2 years now and holes in my kitchen wall where some test drilling was done for 3 years. The house is about 14 years old and has not been painted since it was built. My son's ballpoint pen masterpiece, done when he was 2, is still on the hall wall. He is 10 now. I think you either care about that stuff or you don't and I firmly believe that those of us who don't are the more interesting human beings. So there.

Mad said...

One of the Mom's in my mom's group aspires, with all the weight that italics can denote. She envies me my old, downtown home so close to everything. I can tell that each time she's at my place, she's tidying in her head and redecorating everything. Down with photocopied play posters. Out with the clutter. Begone boxes of old women's hats and thrift store toys. Me? I'm just content in the mess. Sigh.

flutter said...

I know. I always feel so nuts when I go to friends houses and they have houses....and here I am in an apartment.

Janet said...

You value relationships and giving more than acquiring stuff. Some would argue that makes you more grown up than a lot of people, dear jen.

Deezee said...

Oh, I've spewed out that grown up line as well. But by my age, people have completely given up on me... :)

thailandchani said...

Well, I'm quite a bit older than you and still live like a poor college student. On the other hand, I have relatively little debt and a lot of freedom.

As I read this, the first thing that came to mind is that those people you visited are probably enslaved to jobs they hate so they can pay mortgages, property taxes, huge utility bills and oppressive credit card debt because they probably had to buy new furniture and appliances for the new house. They probably have FICO scores in the double digits and are essentially trapped in a prison of their own making.

Ten years from now, they'll still be trapped and won't remember how or why it occurred.

So.. that's my view. I'll take freedom and peace any day.

I agree with Janet that owning "stuff" does not make a "grown up", although the culture certainly imposes that view.

Owning too much "stuff" just makes you a slave.

~*

QT said...

Dude - I still live in an apartment...

carrie said...

What Janet said. ;)

patches said...

As people, it's impossible to go into another's space and mentally compare. It's part of who we are as people. Curious. I won't approach the concept of grown-up, because the concept makes me wince. I will say, you clearly have your priorities in order.

Binky said...

I'm laughing out loud at the line "makes me want to ask who cleans all this shit but of course I don't." I think you should've asked.

Denguy said...

I guess that would make me a grown-up, too. But I'd still come to your house even though you aren't.

painted maypole said...

acting "your age" is much different than following social norms and expectations, and giving into our consumerist society. That's what these homes have that you don't, and frankly, I'd much rather hang out in yours. All these people with their matchy matchy beige everything freak me out.

Family Adventure said...

In the midst of planning a kitchen reno, this was a well timed reminder that, truly, it is all just 'stuff'.

Heidi

Family Adventure said...

In the midst of planning a kitchen reno, this was a well timed reminder that, truly, it is all just 'stuff'.

Heidi

gurukarm said...

Hah! I SO relate! 56+ and I still don't feel like a grownup, in-charge, adult type person a lot of the time, especially at home...

:-)

The Chick said...

I still feel that way sometimes too....like everyone is gonna find out I'm not a grown-up like them. And then other times I feel like SUCH the grown-up that it makes me a little sad. Like, when did I get here and exactly how did it happen???

ALM said...

Omigod. Thank you. I thought I was the only one who felt that way...

crazymumma said...

Hm. I think mr mumma would want to go to your home. And you already know I practically live there.

Sober Briquette said...

I know, I know. I've been thinking about this a lot because I'm facing the work of getting our "new" (how long can I call it "new"? It hasn't been a year yet) house decorated and it's not something I'm suited to. I felt like a little kid at the store trying to choose curtains. I cared about as much as a typical kid would, that's for sure.

Arwen said...

Sometimes the growing up piece isn't that easy though (beyond being a slave to a mortgage and whatnot). We have art on our walls and a friend commented on how nicely we decorated our house. I think I shut her up a little when I said 'What do you do with all your mother's art when she is dead and you have to clean out her house? She we store it in the basement or put it on our walls?' I would gladly have nothing on my walls again and have my mom back.

Defiantmuse said...

eh. "growing up" is overrated. I prefer my eclectic/bohemian/poor college student style over some super gleaming perfectly designed Crate and Barrel home any day of the week.

liv said...

as the senor and I wandered the property of the home where he's staying post-tornado and marveled at the gardens and furniture and sheer stuff, I said, "you know, I guess I just haven't gotten into the idea of stuff enough."

nyjlm said...

I have uttered that phrase more often than I'd like. I think even if intellectually you KNOW that living in this 'grown up' way is not what you most value it is pretty darn hard to shut off the voices of the predominant culture that is so busy chanting STUFF STUFF STUFF.
I have finally realized that I don't need the stuff of the 'grown up American' look, I do need some order and cleanliness. And somehow, reducing it to those two things makes it easier to start to take care of.

bgirl said...

isn't it crazy the way things create a certain sense of reality for some. i have spent many a time actually falling for it, feeling sorry for myself because of what i don't have. how many times i've opted out of hosting so those who live in those homes, won't see mine. all 700 square feet of it, that usually has sticky floors, dog hair and random trains strewn around.

now i say to hell with it...life outside these walls, the places i long to see...now that is what i'm saving up for to have as my things...

your goals inspire. a year ago, i thought i would never travel with my little dude, live somewhere else...and now, i am planning our escape...maps and books and plans all being laid out.

alejna said...

I often feel like I'm masquerading as a grown-up. We have a grown-up house and some grown-up furniture, but it's all buried in piles of toys and stuff. (Funny thing is, it's not all just from having a toddler. Even before we had a kid, people coming in the house would sometimes ask how many kids we had. Almost as if they couldn't fathom people having rubber lizards stuck to the kitchen ceiling without kids in the house...)

hele said...

Sister, I feel your pain. I have taken to meeting people at restaurants.

And just the other day I looked around and realized I am still living like a student. I crave having a space filled with beautifully arranged bits of me but oh the time to find them and arrange them..

kgirl said...

dude, i've got the couch, the table, the chairs, the rug and the two kids running around it all - and i certainly don't feel like a grownup.

Amy Y said...

The more shit I have to do around the house I wanted, the more grown up I feel. It's not necessarily a good thing... I long for the days or reading lazily in my bedroom or playing at the park or pool all day. Being a grown up just means you have less time.

Anjali said...

Thanks for the reminder that it's just stuff, nothing more. I've been bemoaning our lack of furniture, rugs, anything on the walls, lately. You put it all in perspective (as always).

NotSoSage said...

Or maybe he was thinking (as I am, and I'm about to own one of those kitchens), 'She's the only person to take note of how ridiculous this is, rather than exclaim in envy. Cool.'

Bungi said...

Darn! I struggle with something similar. Well, i do lead a pretty comfortable life for a person my age. But when i do look at my peers make lots more money and live 'better,' i tend to wonder... And then i have to give myself the its-what-you-need-that-matters-not-what-you-want talk... Sigh...