Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Capitalism at Home II

On the other hand, going into someone else's home is a little like boarding the Andrea Doria. I haven't walked into a house where the lunch dishes and a half-eaten lunch was on the table, but there's still the freakish sense of a life interrupted. Or a stage set.

A couple of the places I looked at in Austin were empty and an empty house feels like, well, an empty house. One of those houses had a slightly unorthodox floor plan and all I could think was, 'what were they thinking when they bought this?' What they were thinking, of course, was 'cool!' and the fact that it is not selling is probably a complete astonishment to them. But I don't know. Maybe they are now thinking, 'we were such idiots.'

The furnished houses are stranger. Like mine, many of them have tables set. Either for a little tete a tete. Or for a dinner party that isn't going to happen. I tend to open linen closets, although not bedroom closets. The realtor often opens the closet in the master. And often I see all the stuff that they shoved away because they were having a showing. When they have very small children or a baby, then I feel horrible. I can imagine them driving around with a child or two, mildly anxious about the showing. I suspect they spent the morning cleaning. I wish to God I could have said to them--I'm just looking to get an idea of the area. I don't count. But of course, I do count. I might fall in love, even when just looking to get an idea of the neighborhood.

Houses smell like candles. They have candy out with a sign to take some. They are polished and spiffed. One house had a Lone Star in almost every room. The wrought iron head board had a big five pointed star. The walls were painted a deep red, the colors were bold. It was a very Texas house. Out on the back deck, a very wet black lab sang to us, unclear as to why we had come to see him but weren't opening the door. (It was my favorite house, not because of the star or the wall color but because of the layout, but its location is wrong.)

Every house I saw, I thought wistfully, I hope they sell.


Blogger Nathan said...

"Out on the back deck, a very wet black lab sang to us, unclear as to why we had come to see him but weren't opening the door."

What a lovely sentence. You have to put that in a story! In fact, the whole experience sounds like a setting for a story: ethereal and strangely melancholy

September 05, 2006 5:29 PM  
Blogger mary grimm said...

It's suddenly come over me that you're moving! (Yes: slow.) Oh, no!

September 06, 2006 9:11 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Nathan, I guess I feel as if those empty houses are strangely melancholy. (Thanks--here's hoping it does end up in a story. But if it works for you, feel free to steal it.)

Lucette, alas, yes. By the way, yesterday I made a lemon budino out of Bon Appetite that was to die for. It wasn't, I'm sad to say, local. But it was really good.

September 06, 2006 9:25 AM  

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