Friday, August 5, 2022
It’s pushing midnight. It’s hot and the air is thick. I’m sitting on the bed in my childhood bedroom, eating cold roast beef with Miracle Whip on a hamburger bun, drinking a Bud Light.
This room has changed since I lived here. The worn-out carpet and the twin mattress and the computer desk that used to house my Gateway 2000 are long gone. The shelves are still full of science fiction novels and comic strip anthologies though, and they’ve never painted over all the places I drew on the walls. The paint is peeling now, water damage from a leak a dozen years ago.
The house here has, in defiance of strict necessity or practicality, grown substantially since my siblings and I lived here. A series of DIY additions and renovations have added a window seat here, a family room there, expanded roof lines, an entire covered walkway. It’s excessive, but it’s hard to say it’s unjustified. I think the effort keeps them going. It’s something like an art project at this point. Decades of salvage materials and a lifetime of know-how going back into something, even if it’s not strictly the most necessary thing. You have to keep it moving. You can’t just accumulate 2×6s and daydream, you’ve got to build.
A place like this, like anywhere people live, isn’t a static fact. It’s something people keep doing.