I've been living with the Kitten on the farm for two years now, but keeping a pied-a-terre in Arlington to "enable job hunting" (at first) and then to "help build my business". It was indeed those things, but it was also something else--it was a tie to 17 years of bachelorhood spent in a series of monogamous pairings interspersed with periods of a more diverse approach to dating. It was a place here on Earth that represented exactly one thing--me. It had my aesthetic. Every bit of furniture was purchased by me. All the knickknacks were either given to me or bought by me. The 56 inch flat screen? My gift to me. My books. My cookware. My utensils. My towels and bed-linens. My choice of what was magnet-ed to the refrigerator.
Additionally, there are the accumulated clothes of some twenty-five years of adulthood. Sigma Chi Derby Days t-shirts from 1986. My Italian National Soccer Team jersey. Going out cattin' around in DC clothes that seem oddly misplaced on the Eastern Shore. A ton of UVA t-shirts, sweatshirts, fleeces, golf tops, etc. The linen suit purchased in Italy. The Irish National Rugby Team jersey. Ties accumulated over the years yet unworn. Ties worn in years past, but which now do not pass the test. And the uniforms. Twenty-five years of uniforms (4 at UVA NROTC plus 21). The dress uniforms, the mess dress uniforms, the service dress uniforms, the working uniforms, the coveralls, the flight suit (yes, I had one), the jackets, the ties, the shoes. I cannot believe how much closet space has been taken up by the accreted purchases of 25 years of expanding and contracting waistlines and uniform updates.
Most of it is being packed up for storage in some ignominious cube somewhere in Talbot County. I am closing up shop, walking away from urban Bryan to live a more rural life without the option of spending occasional nights in my little Cathedral To Me.
The Kitten has been very understanding about what it is like to blend into an ongoing family in an established household. The garage ManCave has become something of a work of pride to her, and some of the furniture from my Arlington crib will find itself there. I seek to establish a "Chapel To Me" in Easton on our farm, in the space set aside for me to work and seek solitude. My big leather couch and white chair will be there. The 56 inch TV will be there. Some of my Arlington furniture will be there. It will essentially be a little version of the Arlington apartment--which was a version of the Norfolk house, which was a version of the Arlington Apartment, which was a version of the Coronado apartment, which was a version of the Arlington Apartment, which was a version of the Norfolk townhouse, which was a version of the Vienna townhouse, which was a version of the Norfolk townhouse, which was a version of the Norfolk apartment....
I am stopping by the Church today to drop off eight large garbage bags of clothes, bed linens, towels and placemats for the Spring Church Sale, as in order to fit into the limited space parceled out for me on the farm, I must economize. It was time anyway. There will be some very well dressed folks ambling about in the environs of Easton, sporting shirts that once cost me $80 but which now get a raised eyebrow from the traditional and classic-minded Kitten.
The plain truth of the matter is that I got tired of shelling out the Drachma each month to keep the divided lifestyle. My heart and my checkbook are in Easton--my stuff is in Arlington. But over time, more and more of my stuff has moved across the Bay Bridge--slowly, but steadily. Sure--having a place to crash makes staying late for that meeting that COULD turn into business easier to make. I'll have to be more judicious in scheduling. I'll have to stay at a hotel occasionally--or crash at friends houses (are you listening, folks?).
The move is a slow one...the truck comes on April 28, but I've been moving the contents of the apartment a little at a time each trip back and forth. I've loved this life, this apartment, this city, this vibe. Stringing Christmas lights each year on the balcony in preparation for the annual Christmas Party has become one of my favorite acts. Fact is, they are still out there (which ought to make you happy, Hammer, as I'm sure there's plenty of that going on in your neighborhood, except that theirs are lit each night). Maybe I'll leave them for the next resident.
It is time to simplify, to combine, and to move on. My home is with Catherine, Hope and Hannah, and not with a 56inch TV and a leather couch. Ok--well, a little piece of my home will feature those things......