Monday, December 26, 2005

a sheepish invitation

I have known Ed since the middle of October. I have fed him bowls of soup, he has helped fix mixers and VCRs at the loft, we have traveled to France together. But I had never set foot in his place until today. Why? Because he lives in a sheep shed and he has always had this line: one look at my sheep shed and you’ll quit being my friend.

As if I would not be friends with someone who lives so… humbly.

Shockingly, I received an e-invite today. Come on over. I’ve cleaned the place up. Me: can I bring my camera?

I rushed. After all, he could change his mind.

Ed lives a mere 9.5 minutes away from me. I live in the epicenter of downtown Madison. Yet, when you approach his shed, you lose the city and suddenly find yourself in the deep countryside. He likes it that way.

I walk up to his shed, noticing the attachment to a dilapidated barn. The shed is slanted. At the lower end Ed, at 6 foot 4, barely clears the ceiling.

Christmas 05 137

I open the door. He is polishing floors. He does not notice I am there. His cats stare at me. Who the hell are you? If a cat can glare with distrust and suspicion, then these guys are glaring. I give them time and space. It is like that with cats and children of another.

Ed designs machines. Predictably, there are machines and tools in odd places. Okay, I am cool with that. My work space intrudes into my living space. So does his. Only it looks more bold and daring to see high tech machines next to the comfy reading chair. It's not a set straight out of Pottery Barn.

Christmas 05 163

Christmas 05 145a

Outside, I am shown where the sheep once moved from the barn to the shed. His sheep shed. Obviously not while he has been inhabiting it. Still, it gives one pause.

I want to be honest. The sheep shed has track lighting. It has a better shower situation than any number of b& b’s we stayed in while in France. I mean, it may not be classy, but it’s no shed that any sheep I know have ever inhabited.

Still, it is a conversation stopper. And where does your friend live – I am asked. In a sheep shed – is my honest reply. After that, it becomes all about the weather.