I do not like heights. A passionate albeit awkward rock-climber with an even more awkward crotch at age 8 – the pudge had already taken on enough terrain so as to make my bottom ineligible for a ‘child-sized’ harness – with every year of existence, it seems several metres have been added to my dislike.
And yet, I’ve been taking to the runway (aerial, not sartorial) on the regular in the past year. One of the things I prefer about when the wheels hit the tarmac after a high-vis clad person has finished signalling in their semaphore language at the always mislabeled airport (London airport?! It’s 50 kilometres out of town) is the sense of being home. Wherever I go, no matter how long, the call to London is always the strongest. It’s where most of my dearest and closest, although not my only, dwell, and where much of my sense of being was established.
This weekend I received an email from the New Yorker regarding stories about ‘Home’ by loved authors. One that caught my eye was penned by Junot Diaz, although I’ve yet to dive in. Somehow, Nora Ephron’s Moving On stood out. First of all because I really would like to learn how to and so I got tricked. Secondly because it addresses this idea of finding a home in a bustling, overpriced, and ever-changing city like New York (also applicable to London). The piece is a mixture of humour and inspiration. Its homage to the Apthorp building stresses the need and difficulty to find a sense of belonging even in the places that so often resist it. I felt enlightened and empowered by the author’s ability for reinvention, as a woman, and someone with a 1500$/month rent + extras to cover. An excellent read to remember that we can always start over, in love as in dwelling:
A personal highlight:
The apartment had beautiful rooms (most of them painted taxicab yellow, but that could easily be fixed); high ceilings; lots of light; two gorgeous (although nonworking) fireplaces; and five, count them, five bedrooms. It seemed to me that if I lived in the building for twenty-four years the fee would amortize out to only a thousand dollars a year, a very small surcharge. I mean, we’re talking about only $2.74 a day, which is less than a cappuccino at Starbucks. Not that there was a Starbucks then. And not that I was planning to live in the Apthorp for twenty-four years. I was planning to live there forever. Till death did us part. So it would probably amortize out to even less. That’s how I figured it. (I should point out that I don’t normally use the word “amortize” unless I’m trying to prove that something I can’t really afford is not just a bargain but practically free. This usually involves dividing the cost of the item I can’t afford by the number of years I’m planning to use it, or, if that doesn’t work, by the number of days or hours or minutes, until I get to a number that is less than the cost of a cappuccino.)