Books, culture, fishing, and other games

February 24, 2004

Barely Settled

A post on The Cranky Professor got me thinking again on how bare my apartment here is. I have, basically, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a large living area with the kitchen and entry hall embedded in that. To designate the kitchen as a separate room would require allowing that rooms can have only two walls. The third wall is the kitchen "bar" thingie. It doesn't block the view, but does serve as a demarcation of the end of kitcheness and the beginning of livingroomness. Much like the shift from tile to carpet does for the entry.

In all of this I have one folding table, one folding chair, and in inflatable bed/matress. All my "real" furniture is in the house in Atlanta.

The very odd thing is that I miss it so little. Sure, the apartment is a bit bare, but I come home, set up my notebook beside my desktop computer, and step through those screens into other worlds. When I'm not working I really do live in virtual worlds except for the bare maintenance required to sustain corporeal life. To some this might seen mighty odd, but in many ways it resembles a life of books, movies, or for that matter, television. We open doors in our minds and step through, and the physical things of the world disappear beyond a mental barrier that is only occasionally broken by the distracting and not-distant-enough nags of bodily needs.

Of course, living with a place this bare is partly possible because so many of the "necessities" are built into the apartment. The kitchen has the suite of stove, oven, microwave, refidgerator, diswasher, sink and cupboards. The bathroom has tub, toilet, sink, washer and dryer. So, to carry on a reasonably comfortable existence, one need only toss some toiletry, towels into the bathroom, some minor cooking gear and eating tools in the kitchen (and food!), set up at least one place to sit and a place to sleep, and hang clothes in the closets.

Oh, guests, you say? I do all my visiting in other worlds.

You can tell I'm single, right?

I do have lots of stuff, though. Even if it was trimmed back drastically in my return to school a few years back. There's nothing like a couple of moves in a short span of time to encourage you to reevaluate what you really want to keep. I do regret giving up a lot of books. I still have a lot (a good 30 boxes), but I am probably going to end up looking for some I sold to used books stores or gave away.

Of all the things in Atlanta, it's the books I most often miss. I like being able to walk over (or dash downstairs) and poke through my shelves looking for a quote or an author's name. Yes, to some degree I can still do this online. It's not the same though. Touching those books activates memories of the experience of them. There is an analogous effect with just reading the words, but it isn't as powerful. The feeling of the keyboard just isn't the same as the feeling, the helf, of the book, the smell of the pages, even the sound of setting one back on the shelf or dropping it on its side.

I know I will end up missing all my fishing gear too. Probably about the time green starts returning to the outside world and it warms up enough that I can smell the Potomac.

And I miss my collection of spices and cooking gear. So I will populate my apartment at some point. I just don't know it will be soon, because I don't need any of that stuff.

I just want it.

Posted by dan at February 24, 2004 10:52 AM | TrackBack
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