Saturday, December 02, 2006

This Space I Occupy

It's amazing to me how our brain can work out problems by itself and without the influence of our consciousness. My biggest dilemma as of late, has been finding a place I can consider my own. I'm coming upon the end of my current lease, and as much as I would love to find the perfect pad...I utterly despise the thought of moving yet again.

I am living in a condominium now, on the north-east end of Hot Springs. The Belvedere Country Club, which I can see just across the fairway, has a definite place in Hot Springs' colorful history. The setting is beautiful, quiet and safe...when not considering the occasional stray golf ball from the 18th tee just up the hill from me. I gather orphaned golf balls into a bucket on my patio, and it is growing at a surprising rate. Sadly, one of them was the culprit in shattering the back glass on my neighbors' new Acura.

I moved into the condo last February, along with my very good friend, Stanley. He had fallen in love with the setting immediately when we had driven by at the beginning of one of our many road trips. And when the lease on our previous home in the Quapaw-Prospect Historic District had expired, we made the transition to The Belvedere. I was glad to bid farewell to the $300 montly gas bill, but I was still a bit uneasy, as the condo just didn't feel like it was 'mine'.

For Stanley, it suited him quite well. Not too long before, he had made the transition to Hot Springs after being subject to the massive layoffs by Delta Airlines at DFW, and the condo was very similar in layout to his Dallas apartment of 18 years. What was quite different, was the city of 2 million just outside his door, and he would sit for hours either gazing out the living room windows or out on the patio, watching the golfers go by...or the tall pines sway...or the occasional squirrel or deer that had found their way onto the fairway.

For me, the story was quite different. I had lived in this same type of setting much of my life. I was intending, before Stanley came along, to finally make a move downtown. My ideal move would have taken me to a walk-up apartment above a store-front on historic Bath House Row & I wanted to feel the pulse of the street below. I wanted to know the feeling of being able to walk out my door and know that within steps, I could have within my grasp, many of the day to day necessities of life without having to get into a car. Even on days I didn't feel like walking or driving, a taxi or bus could take me anywhere in town I wished. Scores of art galleries, restaurants, nightclubs, coffee houses, cafes, my bank and a convenience store are all within a very close proximity of each other. Whenever I wanted to become one with of the country's most beautiful National Parks lay just across the street, laced with miles of hiking trails that extend up the mountainside and beyond the city-like park seen at streetside.

Soon after the move, Stanley unexpectedly returned to Texas, and I found myself alone in a condo ill-suited for my desires. I had already taken pleasure in replacing most of the 80's era mauve and blue wallpaper while he was still here. But, the kitchen still reeks of it, dah-ling! I just haven't had the energy NOR the will to invest my time in replacing the remaining rolls of wallpaper still lay in waiting, in a box in the utility closet.

There are many things about the condo & the neighborhood that I do like. The master bedroom has to be as large as many studio apartments I've seen. I have four full feet on either side of a king size bed...and enough room at the other end of the room for a sitting area. The master bath, although without a shower, does include a mirror-flanked double Jacuzzi that is so large, it takes a full twenty minutes to fill. There's a working fireplace in the living room/dining room, which also has room for a dining table that seats six, two wing chairs, a sofa & a love seat. A full size washer and dryer are tucked into a closet in the hall that serves the 2nd bedroom and bath. And a kitchen so well planned, it more than makes up for it's outdated skin.

Most of the homes within the confines of The Belvedere are upper-middle scale, many of which are owned by transplanted retirees. This means that the neighbors are friendly enough to wave or say hello when you walk or drive by...but they'd never take it upon themselves to make "your business" their own. Nope, no Mrs. Kravitzes here! My neighbors within the condominium complex are a much younger set. Just above me is a simply delightful, newly divorced attorney and her 13 year old son. I was so flattered when she attempted to 'set me up' with a good friend of hers. Without revealing too much about myself, I only knew to say, "I really appreciate that, but I'm not quite ready to date just yet." I hate that she will be moving sometime next year, as she is building a new home, and it will soon be complete. I'll miss hearing her baby grand...she's quite good... and she always gave out popsicles when my kids were outside playing. I don't know my other neighbors quite as well, but we all get along nicely. The state police detective sometimes gives me the willys, but he's always been pleasant.

I've been stressed far too long about finding a downtown address. I have let it consume far too much of my free thought. I suppose that message was made clear in a dream that awoke me very early this morning. I will spare the details of driving a bicycle, nude, through the streets of my old hometown...but I will simply say that I was 'searching for a place to call home', and I was desperate. It is rare for me to have such a colorful and emotional dream, but it was a loud message from my subconscious. I heard it loud and clear, because when I awoke, I knew I had found closure. I have not felt more at ease here since that brief moment at 3:12 this morning. This is home for now.

Now, about that wallpaper...

No comments: