Tuesday, February 16, 2010

keeping things neat

Ed and I looked at apartments this afternoon. No, not for us. As a favor for a person considering a move to Madison.

It was instructive.

I have two comments on the experience: first, I am not surprised, but still just a little discouraged that rentals in this country, or at least in this town, continue to be of a transitional kind. These are not places where you move to and you stay way past when your kids are grown and gone. They’re places where you stay before you buy something.

And that’s a shame, for any number of reasons.

Secondly, I notice a great deal of disrespect (therefore?) for the premises that people inhabit in this transitional time (however long it may last). Messy, filthy -- these are words that come to mind. And mind you, I am looking at places that are meant for the young professional set. Why spend money on a good place if you’re going to treat it so poorly?

I wonder, is this born of privilege? Because in my years of growing up in Poland, I never quite saw anything like it. Poland does not have a reputation for cleanliness, but I never saw the slovenliness there that I see here.

Ed tells me – this is the way people live. (Meaning: this would be his preference as well.) He tells me I’m the outlier in my constant tidying and polishing.

Am I?

I’ll leave you with the flip side of this – an aesthetically pleasing, lovely bouquet of flowers from the bride and groom of last week's wedding. The buds are a comfort to me. Beauty matters. It doesn’t have to be complicated or extravagant. Indeed, I prefer it simple. And breathtakingly lovely.