Posts from March, 2010
This is one of those fantastic examples of tiny New York living that make me grateful to have a space as large as I do.
Especially because I’m so sensitive about being elbowed in the ribs — I know it’s done all the time, but two people in 178 square feet just won’t do (for us, anyway).
Still, the story is compelling, and even more compelling is the description of Zach, the man behind the meager square footage. The writer, Penelope, whose name I adore, is obviously beguiled by him, and there’s a part of me that wishes to beguile someone so much as to produce such a strange choice of affect to describe me.
He has a sailor’s sense of thrift and handiness; he built the breakfast counter/front-hall table, which doubles as a cabinet.
It’s not the most universally flattering of descriptions, but there’s something so attractive about it — the implication of something so raw, so uncurated and real, that you can’t help but think, wow, what a cool guy. (Which is, of course, much less interesting than the phrasing above.) Anyway, the instilled result in me has been covetous — I can’t help my mind from wandering back toward wanting something like that (but different — so different) to be said about me.
Which of course makes me laugh at human nature (and more precisely, at myself) for the constant desire to be put in the right box. Put us in the wrong box, and oh, hell, the wrath that will come upon the misinformed organizer; but put us in the right box, and it’s the most flattering and gratifying external encapsulation of self we’ll ever find. What a strange but lovely gift.
My latest little side project is aimed at making things better, because I think we could all use more of that. I’m going to write about and photograph the nice things I see every day (and also not report the not-nice things I see every day, or am I just not going to see not-nice things anymore? Hmm.) Anyway, I’m talking about the people who hold doors, the cashiers who smile as they pack up your groceries, the stories people exchange to comfort strangers, and the neighbors who bring in packages for each other.
I’m going to highlight the shining bits of empathy in the world, because I think those bits make everything a lot brighter. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather look through some rose-colored glasses than the dingy yellow ones I’ve been using for a while.
So, for example, if you, like me, had been sitting in your office getting some good work done, enjoying the sunlight streaming in the windows and generally breathing in a kind of peace this afternoon… UNTIL some punk kids stormed by your house and hurled a frozen hunk of snow at your fragile little window, after which your nerves were understandably ruffled; you might benefit from this new effort. PEOPLE DO NOT ALWAYS SUCK.
Then again, sometimes retail therapy is the only way to go.