I was sitting in my apartment today looking for a place nearby that I could get a good sandwich. I was originally hungry when I woke up but since I decided to turn on the internet I’ve since been snacking for the past 8 hours and trying to decide if I’m in a burger, Italian diner or falafel kind of mood. Maybe I’m doing this because I have an audition today—well not really an audition but rather a CD workshop which is an audition that you pay for and are almost always guaranteed to not get. But, you know what? They’re good to have because at the very least I get to talk to people who I’ve never met before.
New people… New people are exciting and frightening. They hold the potential energy to change your life by lifting you out of any squalor or smearing you on the sidewalk with the bottoms of their boots. I ebb and flow from being scared and anxious to meet new people and that got me to thinking about my current living situation. As I sit and type and contemplate a roast beef sandwich or onion rings my eyes are also wandering around my place.
It’s a nice little apartment and it fits me perfectly. It has one room, well two rooms really. There’s a bedroom/living room that serves as the most appropriate metaphor for my life that I can think of at this moment and then there’s the kitchen, the hallway and my bathroom. I find it having everything that I need and not lacking in any major necessities. But, just as I was thinking about new people I got to thinking about introducing new people to my apartment. I’d wish I could open my door and take the girl by the hand and lead her through the labyrinth of my home, past the piles of books, the work rooms, the art, the lounges, the creative spaces and by the time we had gotten to my bedroom she had already been smitten by the artifacts of my life that she’d seen traveling to that point.
This got me to thinking. If my apartment is everything I want and nothing I don’t need then why did I fantasize about having more? It’s simple really.
A person’s home is like their own personal museum, containing bits of their life, showing off their interest, their triumphs, their heartbreaks and everything in between. It’s the one place that we’re allowed to be completely self absorbed because god damn it it’s our house! That doesn’t mean putting up photos of yourself looking intrigued, thoughtful, or contempt but rather people places, ideas and things that had a great effect on your life
When I was little I used to collect movie posters and music bills but there was one poster I had framed because I thought it was cool and surreal. It was a businessman walking on top of the ocean to a set of escalators that were far too large for him to walk up. The caption said I am a traveler walking on the edge of reason. I’ve looked at that painting over and over again but I admit in the last years it became the wall and I paid it no more attention. I suppose that I thought I was the traveler in this world that didn’t make sense and that the insurmountable escalator meant that I should just be patient and trust that I’ll get to the top eventually. It really beats the shit out of me though.
It’s funny how we get bored of our own artifacts after a while. We forget that books are on shelves, that pictures are at the nightstand. Sometimes it’s nice to have company because they see your world with new eyes and remind you to remember all of these great moments. The conversation usually goes with the visitor saying, “I didn’t know you…” and that’s when your synapses fire and the memory comes rushing to your mouth as you describe this wonderful, horrific, benign thing in the picture but for that moment you’re grateful to that person because you wouldn’t triggered that brief moment of nostalgia without them.
When I go to a museum it doesn’t make sense for things from different eras and having conflicting themes to be thrown together into a collection of nonsense and what’s its. A room in a museum is organized and planned depending on an artist or a period of time or influence or maybe styles. Maybe there’s a level of whimsy to one room that is absent in the other.
“I’m sorry but that bust can’t be here. This space is for self portraits popped into bubble wrap only. You’ll have to move it.”
And in many ways that’s what a home is. My room as it stands is like a downtown gallery of an unknown artist who hasn’t made it yet but is up and coming. There are small nostalgic areas where you can see where my style was derived from in the stacks of batman comics and Animaniacs DVD’s but then there’s the space that represents where I’m going: The desk, the office chair, the laptop and the scripts piled high next to it as a constant reminder that there’s always work to be done. Even though I may only have one room I do manage to have a lounge area. Just like when I would walk through the great palaces or Spain or the French bourgeois exhibit at the Getty showing the fainting chair colored in the brightest sky blue I had ever seen on a fabric with gold stitching as if they had dipped ants in a lustrous paint and they had worked their magic walking a line all along this couch.
My area of relaxation isn’t quite as extravagant but it suits my needs just as well, it’s a futon mattress sans frame that I have leaning up against the wall and my bed but that suits me just fine because I like being near the ground. In lieu of having something better to say, it grounds me.
So yes, homes are like museums and while my mother’s place is like my Museum of Natural History my little studio apartment in Los Angeles is my exhibition of Contemporary Art. It may not be much now but check in with me in another year and I guarantee that if it’s not filled to the brim with my life it will at least be fun gallery.
Until then I suppose I’ll have to impress friends and women with my charm.