Living in Southeast

My living room feels more like a living room, now. I have a chair with a footstool, and a TV to facilitate Guitar Hero playing and DVD-watching. My money has been sucked away by other things over the past few weeks, so for a while longer I may have to be content with that little bit of homeyness surrounded by boxed-up possessions.

I also have to content myself with a shower that oscillates between hot and cold and has a curtain that sticks to me on all sides when it’s wet. But these things are all okay, because the apartment is mine. I always knew that I would love living alone. My apartment has some character to it, which you may have guessed. The living room and bedroom are illuminated, during the day, by generous amounts of sunshine. In the evening, light is provided by a bronze-looking chandelier hanging from the living room ceiling. Anyone who enters the kitchen will enjoy a full view of my drinking glasses and dry goods, since the cabinet doors are glass-paned. I don’t mind having an excuse to keep things tidy.

On graph paper, I have drawn a scaled floor plan of my living room and sketched in the pieces of furniture I’d like to have. My chair is in a prime reading location, in the northwest corner next to expansive windows. Other options for furniture arrangement are limited. Every wall is interrupted by doorways or windows that reach nearly to the floor. Still I can visualize a sofa, a small dining table, a TV/stereo cabinet, and a tall bookshelf. I think dark wood will go nicely with the vintage atmosphere of the apartment.

Groceries, books, coffee, medicine, entertainment, booze, wireless Internet access, and even a bike shop are available within walking distance. Blocks of Victorian-era homes are interspersed with modern condominiums and office buildings and local businesses. I walk a half-block to the bus stop every morning; it takes 15 or 20 minutes to get downtown. If I wasn’t worried about getting caught in the rain today, I might take a walk to Mt. Tabor or take a book to Laurelhurst Park. The latter park is in the same vicinity as the yoga studio where I recently started taking classes.

As I do every weekend, today I put my laptop into the shelter of my backpack and brought it to one of the neighborhood coffeehouses. I had crossed the street from my apartment building when I was offered a cookie from a guy passing on the sidewalk. Not a creepy mustachioed guy trying to lure me into an unmarked van—just a dude who was apparently in a giving mood. I declined because the cookies had pecans in them. I suppose they might have contained other unwanted ingredients, but I would rather believe that they were just good cookies and that the guy was just another friendly, free-spirited Portland dweller. I love my neighborhood.

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