A Dream Of Apartments

It’s an old fire station in a bad neighborhood. For the last twenty years it’s been a community center. Not a very good one, too small, dusty as hell. So I gave them a million dollars and raised a little more and built them a much better building, clean and modern and absolutely dull. I took the fire station.

It’s in the middle of the block. Two stories, brown stones, nothing complicated. There are two big doors for the firetrucks, outlined in granite, facing the street. Inside is terrible. So I gut the entire thing.

I’m left with two open floors, each eighty by eighty, empty.

I could park my car on the street like a normal person. But I think I kind of like using the garage as a garage. It’s what I start with.

I’ve never been a car guy, but if I’m going to be living among the damn things I might as well have them be pretty. I get a luxury car that is sleek and comfortable and built like a tank by Germans, and a vintage sports car that has charm and character and was built like a death-trap by Italians. I park one at a little angle, the other farther inside, just because I can.

Plenty of room in between them. I put two tables, square, with chairs around. A few planks slide out to make one long table fit for a Viking feast. Along the rear wall is a kitchen, a long stainless countertop and a range and The Comforts Of Home.  A hundred glass jars of herbs and spices sit on a shelf that runs at eye-level from one side of the kitchen to the other.

Along the walls are tools of the trade. Kitchen-knives and kitchen-tools. Camera-lenses and tripos and equipment. Rifles and hunting-guns. Hiking gear and camping gear. Bicycles and the parts to fix them.

There’s a hole in the ceiling with a fire-pole. I leave it. I carve another, and put in a tightly spiraled staircase of black iron. Up on the second floor I raise no partitions. There are the ghosts of separate rooms, conjured from the positioning of things. There’s a large bed with high posts. There are racks made of old pipes, one for suits, one for shirts, so on. There’s a desk with a blotter on it and another with a computer on it.

The walls are made for dressing myself. A dozen pairs of shoes, a dozen hanging belts. Neckties ordered by color. Watch-straps just the same. NATO straps in two dozen colors, and a few metal bracelets, and leather, and rubber. There are five of each strap, in different sizes, to put on any size watch. Then there are the watches, in variety.

On the roof is a greenhouse. A little robot grows little herbs and greens. And I keep a telescope, in case a New York Blackout happens once again. Then I can look over the city and see the stars.

I could move out of the city. In the country I could have had the house for fifty grand, overlooking a desert or a mountain or a lazy lake. The other things would have cost the same. But I wouldn’t have needed to buy them. Nothing to dress for. Nowhere to go. Nothing to live for. And that’s why I live in the city.

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~ by davekov on 17 January 2017.

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