Sunday, February 12, 2012

Anywhere I lay my head . . .

On his 1985 album Rain Dogs, Tom Waits, in his signature rasp, sang "Anywhere I lay my head, I'm going to call my home." I can appreciate the sentiment, but when it comes to calling someplace "home" I find that I'm slightly more discerning in my criteria.

I've had a few apartments in my time: two in Sherbrooke, PQ and one in Kingston. I like the apartment I'm renting now the best. It has history, it has soul—increasingly commodified qualities that are becoming harder to come by (or afford, especially on a student's budget).

My apartment now is about 140 years old. I'm told it used to be an old barn, which seems plausible given its general shape. It's located above a gift shop owned and operated by my landlady, who lives in the basement and was born at the other end of the street.

A few rooms inherit a great deal of history in almost a century and half. The apartment's age is reflected in its old bones, which writhe and torque with the seasons.
The doors and the windows rarely open and close as they should, but you can roll a marble from one end of the apartment to the other. The malformed structure, however, does make fixing pictures and posters on walls something of a challenge; what from one angle will appear perfectly straight will from another appear decidedly crooked. (A compromise must be reached between perspectives.)

At the end of the day, my modest dwellings are quite imperfect, but there's no other place like it—something not to be taken for granted in this era in which one of a kind is itself one of a kind.

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