A Room with a View

Yikes. I’m approaching this challenge with trepidation. I’m not really a very fanciful person, I can’t seem to come up with much to write about. Too bad I’m a writer and equipped with a good imagination… oh, wait. I’m not sure if I want to imagine a place I’ve never been, or take the much more comfortable route of going back to a place I have been.

Where have I been? My first home was an apartment in my current town, we moved the next year to the house I spent my childhood and teens in, then I went to college, and sometime thereafter, I moved here. I’ve traveled up and down the East Coast, have been to Canada, some islands, California and Las Vegas. I really enjoyed a few executive conferences in Arizona, because when we weren’t working, we were spa-ing and hanging out in palatial hotel rooms.

My favorite room is any room in Key West, Florida. I could write a whole post about that abandoned houseboat we saw in the middle of the ocean. I could write about visiting a quiet place in a remote corner of the world that I can only imagine, or I could write about my dream-home in Texas. I can’t decide, because I still can’t get that Duran Duran song out of my head, even though the words are “A View to a Kill” not “A Room with a View”. It does not seem to matter to my flabbergasted brain today.

Okay. In 5…4…3…

The sprinkle of rain on the windowpane next to my head wakens me. As I regain consciousness, I am aware of the following; my eyes seem crusted shut, it is stuffy in here (maybe I’m sick? Do I remember going to sleep with this flu?) and this bed feels small because, yes, there’s the wall. That’s funny. My arm can reach the wall. My bed is nowhere near the wall, and I can’t reach across a full-sized bed with my T-Rex arms anyway. Have my wishes finally come true and I’ve grown overnight? Have I grown overnight AND John has let me switch sides in the bed? My eyes fly open, and I’m in my twin bed, in my green- and white-paneled childhood room. It is quiet like it has never been before. It looks so small. Where’s the noisy household? Wait a minute.

Did I go back in time? I don’t believe in such things. Okay, look at yourself. No. Still 40, not 14. So, what am I doing here? Did I knock on the door, a la Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” and ask the people that presently live in my old house if I could come in and nap in my old bed? Why do they have my old bed? Maybe my present self went back in time. This room is like a shrine to my teen self with the Metallica and Guns ‘n Roses posters covering almost every inch of that horrible “eyeball” wood paneling. Spooky. Did my ancient stereo, my teetering piles of books, and my silly ruffled tablecloth-covered vanity always look so untidy? Wait a minute, let’s check the mirror and make sure I’m not my mother. Long brown hair, check. Super-pale skin? Check. T-shirt, sweats and sneakers? Check, check and check. Okay. Phew. Definitely not my mom. Back to the more pressing concern, if this is the present-day version of my old house, why have they never updated this horrendous LSD-fueled-nightmare paneling? Is their Dad refusing to rip it out and re-drywall too?

Speaking of dads, I’ve noticed that the aforementioned rain on the window is more of an intermittent shower. I’ll know for sure that I did time-travel if I peek out of these little curtains with the pom-poms on the fringes and see a young version of my Dad watering the tomato and basil plants. He would always spray my window annoyingly while he went about the yard work. Nope. Not my dad. It’s a sprinkler. And that is not our little Italian garden. There’s some flowers, instead. I wonder if they still get an influx of bees every summer and smell the grapes from the time he used pressed-grape mulch as a fertilizer? Our house smelled like a winery all through my teenage years. Come to think of it, it isn’t warm enough out to check if our mark on history still exists at good old number 242. Guess I’ll head down along the river to my present home, a song away from here (literally and figuratively!), and do a drive-by maybe in July or August. This was only a journey of the mind, but, where’s my car?

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