Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Stay Behind the Ropes, Please
Velvet ropes – that’s it! The only thing missing in the condo now is velvet ropes, the kind used in historic mansions to keep tourists from touching the furniture. Beyond the ropes are the dioramas, perfect replicas of rooms as they appeared during the particular historic era.
Welcome to the Salmon Sanctuary, ladies and gentleman. From 1998 to 2009, a newspaper reporter lived here with her cat…
Only of course these rooms do not reflect my time here. Every room has been neutered – excuse me, neutralized – to appeal to people who want to be able to visualize their furniture, their wall art, their knickknacks (a word only slightly easier to spell than “tchotchkes”), their area rugs, their photographs.
Look at that blank living room wall! Where is the batik of Ganesh, purchased in Bombay for $10? In the back of the closet. What happened to that life-size fabric seagull that soared in the office, bought on a cruise to Mexico? Nine-year-old Elliot has it, a consolation prize since I canceled the downsizing sale. (He wanted to help.) Whither the massive “Yes We Can” poster? Gone to Columbia, to live with other liberals.
The dining room table is set, though no one is coming over. Fluffy towels wait patiently by the soaking tub. Nearby is a hardback copy of “Moby Dick,” a little joke. (It’s a joke for two reasons. First, I love the book, and I would never get in the tub with any hardback. Second, my play “MOBY” is waiting, patiently as those towels, for production.) The new stainless cooktop is spotless – never used and ready for the new owner.
Speaking of “new,” let’s discuss real estate jargon. George and I have sorted this out, but maybe you have not thought about it. In real life, “new” means unused, like the cooktop, and "newer” means purchased and installed more recently than the old cooktop, which was 34 years old. In real estate jargon, “new” means new in the conventional sense, but “newer” means older.
Oh! Go Figure is the name of a terrific fat girl store in San Francisco! Is that a sign?
Two years ago, I accidentally bought an entire set of fabulous living room furniture in Columbia, while shopping with friends for a bookshelf for their home. Yesterday, two strong young men took away the largest of the pieces, a 102-inch-long couch. I donated it, because I won’t have living space in S.F. big enough to contain that couch. What’s left behind (besides two cat toys, which Maggie ran in and retrieved immediately) is a lot of empty space.
I moved the small area rug in front of the fireplace (a completely fake fireplace, all lights and crackling and carrying on – but it’s about theater, not heat) and dragged my grandma’s golden oak rocker in to set the scene, so to speak. Hmmm…looks a little barren there still. I know -- I need a stack of antique blocks, so it looks as though the Victorian-era children just ran off to the kitchen to ask Cook for some gingerbread and milk.
That’s exactly what you would expect to see at Henry Shaw’s place, beyond the velvet ropes.