Dependence is one of those things that's hard to see unless you get some distance from it. In Chicago, I was dependent on meterbridge (and other people, too) for, well, a whole lot. If certain aspects of our living arrangement -- like setting up a wireless network, for instance, or buying cleaning supplies -- had been left up to me, then they probably wouldn't have ever gotten done. I'm only realizing that in retrospect, though, since it's so different from how I've been since moving here. "You wouldn't recognize me," I told J-J on the phone on Friday night. Maybe this would have happened at our place in Evanston, too, if I were working from there, but somehow I don't think so. I don't think it's that doing any of these things has gotten objectively easier, really. It's just that my motivation to do them has gone through the roof.
I think I'm starting to develop a new understanding of and respect for what it means to keep house. Buying those mysterious-looking mushrooms so that you can really learn what to do with them; having the guts to ask the salesperson questions until you've found exactly the right light fixtures, instead of just the first ones you see that will work; arranging and rearranging your empty boxes until you're absolutely sure they're taking up the least amount of closet space possible -- keeping house, I'm realizing, is the art, craft, and science of making the place where you live healthy, safe, comfortable, and inviting, and it encompasses anything you do toward those ends -- whether it's hanging art on the walls, setting up your wireless network or scrubbing your bathroom floor. I think humans are all home makers to some extent, but for me the instinct has never kicked in so strongly as it has for me here in Portland. This is my house. It's mine. It might as well have been built for me, and in fact, it sort of was! I have a responsibility to myself to make it a home, because this is where I spend my days and it's where I live, but I also have a responsibility to Amanda, to show her she made the right roommate decision; to leadsynth, to show her I didn't move this far away from her for no reason; to my mom, for all those years I made fun of her, now that I see traces of her in everything I do. To wit: I got nightstands for my bedroom! I mean, nightstands! And a white cabinet thing from Pottery Barn for my bathroom. Okay, so it's used and I found it on craigslist, but since when do I have furniture from Pottery Barn?! And I have a whole bunch of framed art in a pile in the corner because thinking about where I might hang it is more fun than actually hanging it (I understand, now, Mom), and I've been going around with a notebook and a tape measure and measuring all my floors for area rugs (area rugs, people) and all my windows for curtains (which I am buying from Country freaking Curtains*, mind you), and the clincher is probably my new used two-drawer black steel office-style file cabinets. They're exactly like the ones I used to make fun of you for, Mom, and I absolutely love them.
* When we were little, Mom used to comb through the old Country Curtains catalog we had sitting around, making plans for the amazing curtains she was someday going to have. Things circled. Notes written down. The window measurements scrawled on the back of the catalog. Little graph-paper sketches, even. At the time, of course, I thought it was really stupid and why she couldn't just get some Wal-Mart curtains or whatever and at least we'd have curtains on our windows. She finally got her Country Curtains a couple of years ago, and now I'm doing exactly what she used to do with the catalog.