Friday, April 21, 2006

Books or clothing?

I asked myself the other day, "what is more important to you, books or clothing?"

My answer was "books." My next thought was, "that's silly.' I wear clothing every day. (I also either carry a book or a magazine with me everywhere I go.) We are constantly judged (overtly or not) on the physical impression we make and clothing is a big part of that. Clothing is non-trivial. I'm not a clothes horse, but I do care about my clothing. I treat it well, especially my legion of sweaters. I'm particularly attached to my many pairs of black shoes.

I started down this particular track of thought because I'm considering rearranging my apartment. Bear with me, the track is a bit circuitous.

I don't use my backroom very much. It used to be a porch and it was converted to a room. Thus, it has some odd angles and it's cold in the winter and hot in the summer. It can't be a second bedroom because the windows in the "real" bedroom open directly into the room (it used to be outdoors). It is an odd setup. There is a big closet in the back that I converted to an office, but I never go back there. The back room is mostly a utility room. There is another closet with the laundry machines stacked in it. When I use the computer I sit in the dining area or in the living room. Yet, I have this nice ergonomic set up back there, going to waste.

I also have a lovely dining area that I use infrequently for dining.

I thought, why not turn the back room into the dining room and move the office to the dining area? (Friends who've been to my place--what do you think about this?)

One problem is that I have three full bookcases in my dining area, two tall and one short. One would have to go somewhere else. There isn't room for it in the back. But there might be room in my bedroom, if I got rid of some of my clothing. But I don't want to get rid of my clothing, even the stuff I never wear.

And that's when I had the thought, "What's more important, clothing or books?"

It's not that I never get rid of books. I do. I have a box sitting around waiting to go...somewhere else. The books that I won't read again, the cheap entertainment books, I don't keep those. I keep the books that I intend to read, the ones I read and might re-read, the ones I love and want to be able to loan (possibly permanently) to friends, the books that belonged to my parents. Those books stay.

Bookstores are dangerous places that I try to avoid. Why? Once I buy a book I may own it for the rest of my life. The library is a much safer place.

Then again, I don't read as much since I started writing the blog. The open weekend hours reserved for reading are now dedicated to writing. I may even read more words per week because of all the blogs I track. I have (mostly) kept up with the book group books--but only reading one novel a month? That's not like me. I suppose it's about the rate I dropped to in grad school when I spent most of the time reading things that bored me to tears. Given my inability to focus on any of the stuff I need to read for work these days, I'm astonished I made it through grad school at all. Then again, I didn't have a blog to distract me.

Maybe I'll just move that short bookcase into the back room. Put the bike in the closet when I have guests over. And start having breakfast in the back room.

P.S. Pele pretty much convinced me that there was nothing much I could do to make the backroom more useful and that there was a good reason to keep the dining table in the dining area. Also, I don't want to hide the fabulous new red chairs in the back. I still may move one of the bookcases back there, though. We'll see.

Grateful for: books.
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