Thursday, April 2, 2009

What I want?

The impossible: to name your desire. This is the hardest part of house shopping.
What do I want? The agent asks me.
What do I want? I repeat, incredulous.
Do I get that? It's always seemed like such a pointless exercise. Why imagine it? Why want it? Why create the suffering of wanting what does not exist and what I can never have? Why begin such a path of pain and disappointment?
This is where my mind resides. This neuro pathway is practically worn through. I think I need a new one.

So what do I want in a house? I tried to write it all out. But some things I simply couldn't even write down: too fantastic, too absurd to even imagine it all coming together.

What do I want in a house? It sounds as shallow as finger nail polish. But it cuts to the core of values and identity. Country? City? Easy payments with more money left for fun stuff? Hard payments with nothing left over? Cookie cutter construction or an individual stamp? Do you want to make that stamp or accept someone else's?

Most of the stuff we've looked at is slopped up old crap with asbestos siding sliding off into a yard full of garbage. One squat little shanty looked like a disembodied mental illness had simply taken over the entire acreage. In another house, the renters hadn't washed the dishes in months and didn't even try to hide the four foot bong in the living room. Well, I'd probably be taking as many drugs as possible too, if I had to mow the green shag in my living room every week and eat in a kitchen over run with red and yellow plaid tiles.

There was a pretty nice place, but the living room was as big as our current bathroom. Everything else in that house was enoromous, but we're not a family that likes huge private spaces and no public space. This means that every conversation or interaction would take place on some one's turf. A family needs a no man's land, where there is no mine and yours, but a space that allows an ours and an us.

Of course, if I did, perchance, find Paradise, a paradise beyond my meager imaginings, a paradise with all the things I couldn't bring my un-presumptious, un-entitled self to write down on my list of wants... If I did find such a thing and if I did make an offer on such a thing, I probably wouldn't tell you until everything was in place. Real Estate deals are known to careen off their rickety tracks in ugly, painful crashes. I'd opt for silence until everything fell into place, even the keys.

Success, raging success, can make some of use feel horrifically guilty. It's hard for me to tell my friends about anything truly wonderful that I do or experience. The sting of jealousy and the guilt of not being able to give everyone everything they want and need (no one has ever accused guilt of being reasonable!) is worse for me than risking pity by broadcasting my troubles.

Perhaps the hardest part about blogging for me will not be the year of tribulations, but a year of jubilations. Can I share my joy with you? Can you understand that any joy I may have or may only dream of having is a joy I want for you, too? Is a joy that I wish I could bring in to your life? And if you can understand that, then my joy will increase as I share it. And your joy will too. If you sympathized with my plight, felt my pain, wondered what me and my family would do, then you also deserve to feel my joy and to share in that too, to let that shine on you and brighten at least a moment of your life.

The shit is going to be there. It is going to hit the fan. And we are going to be covered in it. It's inevitable. The fear, the ugliness, the wreck, the death, the tragedy. And this means that the joy must be revelled in all the more. With intention and determination, we commit ourselves to happiness when the sun breaks through the clouds. After all this, we owe it to the light to give it our full attention as well.


I am in Salem tonight, picking up the kids from their spring break in my parent's fabulous new house. So modern! So beautiful! And my mother's job at the capitol? So fancy! So much energy and passion in that marble and brassy place. But it looks like a Mormon temple with that burly brass man on top, the Angel of Logging.

And the kids? They are genuinely sick of each other after a week of no other kids. And so, I am going to buckle them into a car tomorrow, side by side and drive for 7 hours. We may survive, Lord willing, as they say. But when we get out of that car, I am determined to revel in peace and freedom for at least as long as we were cooped up.

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