Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Deep imprints

Today as I entered my closet, I did something I do with a frequency that is somewhat embarrassing: I swept my hand insistently up and down an interior wall seeking the light switch that is not there, which refuses to be there…and being a little puzzled as the lights stubbornly do not flash into warm, glowing life.

I do the same thing in my kitchen. There are two entries to my kitchen, one from the dining room and the other from the playroom.

There is a switch, a-one-singular-only-one-that’s-all-you-get-switch, on the playroom side of the kitchen.

NOT the dining room side.

And. Yet.

I came downstairs this morning in the dark (meh), went through the dining room entry (which is the quickest way to the coffee maker), and stood there like an idiot trying to find the light switch which, again, is not there.

Today I was pondering why it is that, after having lived in this Den for ten full years now, I still do things like that. I still somehow expect there to be one more stair, a light switch where no light switch is, I expect the piano to be on a wall where it has never been…and then it hit me.

I’m superimposing the house I grew up in over this one.

There are quite a few similarities, sure. The basic layout is mostly-kind-of the same…if you stretched the old house here and squashed this one there.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in “the” house. We moved only twice that I know of in my childhood: Once from the apartment in San Francisco to a house in San Rafael when I was very-very young; and then from that house to The House in San Ramon when I was about, oh, eight-ish.

And there we stayed until I was in my twenties and getting an apartment of my own.

So I suppose I shouldn’t really be surprised to find that I think there should be a light switch in a place the old house had one…especially considering that I feel it was a major oversight on the part of the builder not to have a switch there.

You know. There. Closer. To. The. Coffee. Maker.

I wonder what kinds of imprints my Denizens will have. Will they always walk down a flight of stairs hugging the right banister, because they expect a large pile of crap waiting to be brought up to be scattered on the left of the stairs? Will they try to hang towels on hooks that don’t exist? Will they be confused when their new bathroom only has one medicine cabinet?

These sorts of things can, apparently, run very, very deep indeed.

…and I still feel as though there should be a room just inside my front door, stuffed with all the junk we don’t quite know what to do with so we’ll just put it in here for now


Anonymous said...

Funny how things stay with you. Why don't you just put in a couple additional light switches? Shouldn't take you and hubby more than a couple hours on a Saturday. (Honest!) Then you wouldn't be always reaching for something that isn't there.

Jan said...

We lived in one house from before my earliest memory until I was eleven, and my parents still live in the one we moved to then.

They had the audacity, several (like 8?ish) years ago, to remodel the kitchen. I am STILL trying to find the olive oil on the wrong side of the back door and a bottle opener on the wrong side of the sink.

And don't even get me started on how my husband INSISTS that the trash goes on the left-hand side under the sink when God-fearing Americans everywhere KNOW that it belongs on the right.

mama edge said...

A friend of mine moved into the same apartment complex in which I lived in first and second grade. The first time I visited him, I rang the bell, and when he opened the door, I stooped down and held my hand at ankle level while I walked in. "What are you doing?" he asked me. I looked at my strange posture and realized I was making sure not to let the cat out -- the cat I had in first and second grade.

Our brains are weird!

Beth said...

OMG, I do the same thing in my closet. The last two places I lived had a switch INSIDE the closet. Not this one, Nope. And I am CONSTANTLY feeling for it in the dark, LOL.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should just move the coffee maker? :)

Gina said...

I understand how that is. I am forever trying to flip a lightswitch on the wall outside of the bathroom (in the hall.) ... I have NEVER lived in a place where the bathroom lightswitch is outside the bathroom. I have no idea how that motion has become ingrained in my psyche.

ellipsisknits said...

We once moved between houses with very similar layouts, stairs in the center and going clockwise from the foot of the stairs, front hall, garage, den, kitchen, dining room.

Except the in the first house, the garage connected to the den side, and in the second it connected to the front hall.

We spent *months* going the wrong way 'round. Bundling up for the cold, getting whatever we needed for the car, and wondering why we were standing in the den.

Our current house has a completely different layout, so no such problems. However, *every single* lightswitch is on the wrong side of the room from where you need it to be when stumbling home in the dark.

Anonymous said...

After probably 15 years I still look for the clock that used to hang in the living room, then I have to go to the hall where it now resides.