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"A few deliberately imbedded ounces of inconvenience provide the spice of any well-lived life."

A home should be ReasonablyComfortable, a place where one need not nervously glance over one's shoulder, a kick-back space. I've found reasonable comfort in a wide variety of circumstances: an unheated sleeping porch through a damp Seattle winter, a Victorian bedroom with buzzing flies in the walls, a squat one bedroom apartment overlooking a busy arterial, a thick-walled main floor with parquet floors and a genuine Dutch door, on top of a hill, and down in a shadowy draw. The first few nights found me nervously glancing over my shoulder, but a few days' conditioning and I'd find myself ReasonablyComfortable all over again. I hesitate to leave ReasonablyComfortable digs, as if I believe that I've somehow lost my ability to ever discover fresh ReasonablyComfortable places, as if leaving my present one would curse me to wander in an inescapably uncomfortable world. I exhibit little faith in the future's ability to properly provision me, or, indeed, in my own inventiveness.

I have always insisted upon a modicum of discomfort in my homes, though.
I maintain an ungainly and supremely uncomfortable TV chair, most often opting to sprawl on the floor than sit for more than a scant half hour there. My writing chair, my home base within my home, is likewise only partially suited to how I use it. I might spend several hours perched there writing, but kind of limp away from each session. I could improve the chair, but I do not. My sleeping surface is also only partly suited to my needs. I almost always stretch out on top of the covers and wake feeling chilled in the wee hours, only then submitting to the space beneath the covers, but even then for only long enough to slightly warm me.

No chair in our current home seems even ReasonablyComfortable to me. I believe that I maintain this aesthetic not to punish myself for past transgressions but to somehow prevent me from becoming unreasonably comfortable; complacent. I want to maintain a certain edginess, an appreciation that life is not best experienced as a featherbed vacation. I suppose that I deep down believe that I do not deserve great comfort and also that should I relax overmuch, I might turn softer than even time seems determined to turn me. I insist upon a certain toughness from myself, a deliberate absence of luxury and privilege. Many seem much worse off than I, and I feel a deep need to be slightly worse off than I might appear.

I might be part masochist. If I can find a more tedious way to accomplish something, I'm likely to choose that way. I maintain a personal catalogue of secret passages when driving, but these most often involve taking longer and slower ways around. I believe that these little omissive obsessions serve to keep me more present and aware and I do not for a minute dream of somehow overcoming them. I do not drool over the prospect of purchasing a LazyBoy recliner within which to kick back through my sunset years. I will continue to resist gizmos designed to ease effort in favor of older-fashioned hand-powered alternatives. I rake my yard by hand.

Home, for me, is a ReasonablyComfortable place without tumbling into the unreasonable comfort many modern homeowners pursue. The Muse and I have always displayed the television in an inconvenient corner and would not dream of having more than one in the place, much less subscribe to cable anymore. We want to maintain limited choices, believing that unlimited choices carry self-destructive contradictions and that it's often, maybe even usually, better to go without some creature comforts lest they seem to become necessary to our survival. We could get by on much less than we seem to insist upon as it is. A few deliberately imbedded ounces of inconvenience provide the spice of any well-lived life.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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