The smell. The organization. The encouragement that radiates from tools and fixtures and 29 kinds of nail, assuring you that you can build/make/fix anything you want. It’s empowering.
It’s addicting, too, because I find myself walking into Home Depot every Saturday morning with no idea why. “What can I help you find today?,” they ask the second you’re through the doors. Uhh…an answer that doesn’t sound crazy? It’s not like the shoe department, where an “I’m just looking” will suffice. But that’s exactly what I plan to do. “I’m just looking….at paint,” I say, which is half true because I hoard paint chips. But after that awkward encounter, you’re in, and you’re free.
Almost. The only obstacle that remains are the associates who always manage to find you, no matter how deep in the aisles you’ve sequestered yourself. What-are-you-looking-for-today. Maybe it’s different for women—we have some GPS DNA on that extra X that goes beepbeepbeepbeep whenever we enter a hardware store. Maybe it’s in the job description. Whatever it is, please just let me wander aimlessly. It’s what I came to do.
On the other hand, the people I’ve met at there have been full of advice. And not just on wire cutters and wood. One man (who managed to elicit my life story when I asked him where the brackets were), said to “get out of New Haven” because “it’s a bad place and there’s nothing there for you” and get to “Maryland or DC” because “that’s where the art is.” He also said I should’ve gotten pine instead of hardwood. And to never walk alone and secure the doors. I told him pine sucks and shit happens. Maybe not explicitly.
Most times I don’t buy anything, even after two hours of hide-and-seek with the staff. It’s what I love most about Home Depot—that you can spend hours wandering around reveling in the potential, and you leave all inspired and independent and ready to do something. You just don’t know what yet. And the advice, well, that’s free, too.
1 In psych we learned how your expectations of language can influence what you hear. Which is proved by this traumatic video, listen only if you dare.
2 I went on a tour of the art gallery’s antique furniture collection, and found something from 1880 that looked a little familiar…
3 Most times I go into the kitchen I feel like I’m on an episode of Chopped and the ingredients in the basket are Junior Mints, tomato paste, and PAM.
4 Father of fractals, Benoit B. Mandelbrot chose his own middle name. So, what does the B. stand for? Benoit B. Mandelbrot.
5 In case anyone was wondering what desperation looks like, this is it:
Classes for students started on Monday, as did infiltration.
Congratulations to Daphne Geismar on the launch of a new site! I was honored to have been asked to help design it last year with Sara and Justine. Thanks to Sara’s mad web skills, it’s officially live.
Daphne’s books are beautiful. You can see them on her site, but details like a map on the inside of a jacket or thick chipboard covers are tactile discoveries only made by picking them up.
So that’s why everyone goes crazy with grocery shopping before a snowstorm…
This week I bought a couch! Thanks to my dad and brother, who wrestled the enormous, Swedishly-compact box up the stairs.
I think that this moment, above all others, symbolizes the start of a new chunk of life. A couch says hey I’m here, and I need somewhere to sit in this place for a while, and invite others to sit. It’s big and heavy and won’t be going anywhere too soon. It’s a little scary, buying this couch and sitting on it, as if that somehow affirms my fixedness here for an untimed interval.
Up until this moment—this couch—place was transient. Home was home until college, when bins were packed and unpacked in dorms then re-packed and left to sit in a stack until the next semester began or summer adventures brought them to foreign floors. Space felt borrowed, impermanent, restless. Temporality was as assuring as it was unsettling; it meant that I had yet to decide where I was going.
But that was before. There’s a couch here now, one hundred pounds of particle board and foam anchoring me to this point in time and space. For a while, anyway.
Buying Q-tips is an existential moment. They only come in packs of what, 50,000? You can’t help but wonder what your life will be like the next time you’ll need to buy them, or what the world will be like, or who you’ll be with, or if you’ll have a dog, or a kid, or if you’ll even be alive. Maybe Q-tips won’t even exist by then. Maybe nothing will exist by then. But now someone bumps you with their Wal-Mart cart and jolts you from your nihilism and the moment is lost, maybe never to be experienced again depending on how frequently you use Q-tips.
Internet withdrawal continues, but I have this electric clock that’s twice as old as the internet itself, so there’s that.
The underline means it’s not a test?
This week I had the compulsory pleasure of attending “New” Employee Orientation, a day-long affair that began with words of welcome and praise, paused in the middle for lousy pizza (seriously?!), and concluded with the reminder that we will all die, and if we don’t have an adequate retirement plan or designated beneficiaries then we’re screwed. Well, it wasn’t put so bluntly, though the woman’s point was the same.
My mind was elsewhere by then (in the bed section of IKEA, specifically) but thinking back on it now, everything they told us that day is still hard to grasp. Planning for the future? The future-future? It was like the day in Physics class when our teacher explained how time travel was theoretically possible. The words slowly sank in and just kept sinking. The future. It’s out there, in theory, like an astro-physical way to slow time, but no explanations or definitions will bring it down to earth. After the presentation I hated the word.
On a more tangible note, I am accumulating furniture (still no bed, but a desk—priorities first!) and am happily reliving the days when I was a 5-year-old housewife with a FisherPrice kitchen.
Watercolors by Ming Cho Lee. Ming Cho Lee. And Internet. Could this day get any better?? Oh it just did. There are cookies.
Oh Internet. I hate that I love you so. I’m writing this from the floor of the lobby of the drama building because I’m too cool (read: financially deficient) to have wifi in my apartment. Apparently the same goes for a bed, dishes, TV, and a lot of other things I’m realizing I don’t have anymore. But I have awesome old push-in light switches, so who cares?
Last weekend while my mom was in New Haven we went to Verdana. I mean IKEA. It was our first time there, which must have been obvious as we stopped every few steps to stare incredulously at something (look at that lamp / am I supposed to be following this arrow / what a clever box this is / was that kid eating a cinnamon bun?). It’s more than a store—it’s a country. With its own economy, infrastructure, cuisine, and language. We, of course, were the clueless tourists. I can’t wait to go back, since it’s less than two miles away. (But is it worth giving up my parking space??)
Moving out was a bit surreal. I don’t think it’s hit me yet. Maybe I’ll write again when it does.