Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why I Love Where I Live/Work

Yesterday (on the job) I was down in the studio attending to the details of the most recent batch of glass -- shaving off stray paint with a blade, taking a diamond sander to the inevitable nicks and chips that show up along the path to the finished product. The studio is a converted garage which opens to a sidewalk, and as it's still warm, the door was ajar. I was respiratored-up, tied-into my protective apron, when two men walked by and poked their heads into the door, curious about what went on inside.

I invited them in (they appeared harmless enough!) and showed them a few of the pieces I was working with, briefly explained the process. One of them said he'd lived in the neighborhood thirty years, and remembered the transformation of the space from garage to studio. Of course, I couldn't (and didn't) claim ownership, and extolled the talents of Melinda (who was upstairs in the house aka The Factory, cutting designs).

I'm always amused at what people notice, and they oohed-and-ahhhed over the compressor. Men! Machinery! (Stereotypes!) The vessels of colored glass rods -- remnants of Melinda's flame-working days-- also caught their eye.

These were lovely men -- bright & inquisitive -- and in a less-than-ten-minute interval we managed to chat about not only the glass at hand but politics, urban gentrification and the shared joys of living in this eclectic community. Would I have experienced anything even remotely resembling this in my recent suburban stint? Hell no! This is not the landscape of lives fortressed behind modern facades, not the environment of garage door openers and conspicuous consumption. Nope.

Here on these urban streets exist the details of lives lived among the breathing, among hearts conscious of the fragility of existence. Where, in the house next door, a ninety-something woman gardens in a wig and pearls, chickens cluck in the yard across the intersection, and a mechanic working on another neighbor's circa 1970-something Datsun (Toyota?) curses with great color and passion. A sun-bleached Tibetan prayer flag flutters, strung across a driveway. Troupes of school children chatter by.

Two blocks to the west I can dine on Mexican, Thai, Caribbean, sushi, pub-grub, Sicilian-Soulfood and Subway sandwiches. I can imbibe ale, stout, hard cider, sake, gin, Bailey's and a glass of decent Sauvignon Blanc. In abundance are lattes, cappucinos, Americanos, drip(s!).

A block further and I'm in a Carnegie library. A mile to the east and I'm home.

It's gritty, sometimes noisy, busy, embellished with parking-strip vegetable gardens and the occasional broken-down car.

Yet in the brief conversation yesterday with two strangers I was reminded of just how lucky I am to have landed -- albeit by a kind of default -- back into a place I can genuinely call Home.



  1. I'm happy for you and applaud your gratitude.

    I, myself, often pine/yearn for a simpler life -- a country life? a rural life? -- but I actually thrive best in urban places, filled with life and culture round every corner.

  2. Sorry I was a bit slow with this T. Read it...have a laugh! John is precious.

    Your neighbourhood sounds delicous. It seems to me that you have let go of the life you planned and are living the life that was waiting for you.

  3. What a wonderful neighbourhood you are living in now. Good to hear you starting to sound more settled.

  4. I'm so glad you'e back in your own personal life that you have earned all your own self every single second of your living life.

    Love, C.

  5. I'm of the opinion that there are interesting people EVERYWHERE. One may have to delve deeply, but they're there.

  6. what a glorious post, T.!! Life in all its true colors, with engaging and engaged people. It's what I'm finding out about urban life myself, and loving it for many of the same reasons. Exciting, huh? Good on ya, woman.

    Word verification, I kid you not, "teehe"

  7. Fabulous......home is where the heart is!
    Ima Smilinbig

  8. What we may call default has begun to look like some greater wisdom actually expanding our possibilities. There ARE interesting people everywhere but the chances of meeting more of them are clearly increased by being among more of them. Happy for your enjoyment. xo

  9. Cro, yes, I agree that there are interesting people everywhere, but some of those people don't desire to be discovered.

    My sister once said that people move to the 'burbs for a reason, meaning that they are seeking out anonymity that those kinds of communities often offer.

    In my previous life, I eventually gave up trying to interact with most people. Difficult -- I'm a very social creature. But most overtures were met with a "don't steal from me!" glare. As if!

  10. Tara, don't you love it when the word verifications are so apropos?!

  11. T. It sounds quite wonderful. Can I come in live there too? (I am currently domiciled in Chriscthurch, New Zealand, city of ongoing earthquakes.)

  12. Helen, just say the word and I'll find you a place to live!

    (But warning: we're overdue for The Big One here, living atop multiple fault zones.)

  13. Thanks, T. :) Maybe one day, for a visit ... with a sincere hope that your 'big one' does not also visit at the same time!