In My Room

I’ve been at my parents’ house since Saturday afternoon. I came down to celebrate my sister’s birthday, and decided to spend a few extra days here because I needed a change of space/place/pace/face. I needed to get away from the hustle and bustle and the hoi-polloi and hubbub and hoopla of Manhattan.

The first night, I slept in the basement, in my old trundle bed (I slept on the “regular” bed, not the actual trundle part, even though I thought it would’ve been more fun to pull that part out and sleep on it instead), just a few feet away from my old bedroom furniture, a set that I thought was the most beautiful stuff I’d ever seen when it was new back in, oh, I’d say 1970. It was strange to see it out of context, in the basement, and not upstairs in my old bedroom. I wanted to open the drawers and find all of my old clothes and school papers still inside, but when I opened every drawer, I was, of course, disappointed. I knew the old things weren’t there, but I still sort of thought they would magically appear like in a bad short story (or a short story I may one day write, which may or may not be bad).

Last night I slept in my old room, next to one of the walls that I’d stucco’d (yeah, that’s right — stucco) many years ago. Although it’s a fairly large room (about the size of a friend’s studio apartment on the Upper West Side), it wasn’t nearly as huge as I used to think it was, back when I had a blue and brown shag rug remnant in the center of the floor, twin beds that I was always rearranging, and my most favorite piece of all, my dark blue denim beanbag (which eventually was rendered quite useless after our Lhasa Apso peed on it one too many times), where I nestled for countless hours listening to eight-track tapes (Queen’s “Jazz”, Neil Young’s “Harvest”, and whatever Beach Boys album contained the song “In My Room”), daydreaming of the day when I would have my own fabulous apartment — which I envisioned as looking just like my bedroom (even down to the blue lightbulb I installed in the ceiling fixture), except with a mini kitchen off to one side (I had a romantic image of a “Pullman”-type kitchen), which I would stock with Tab.

Now, 28 years after moving into this house and into that bedroom, I live in a rather large (at least by Manhattan standards) apartment, where I have two bedrooms — one that’s large and one that’s quite small, the latter of which is home to the bedroom furniture that I used in Philadelphia and a wonderful computer set-up. Now that entire small bedroom is the equivalent of the denim beanbag chair, and I actually daydream about installing a little dorm-sized refrigerator in one corner, stocked to capacity with Diet Coke.

John Knowles was right. The more things change, the more they stay the same.