On the street where you live

by Yule Heibel on February 28, 2004

I get busy. Too much to do, too little time to write. The tulips are out, tiger-striped, candy-striped. Magnolia trees potted in tubs are blooming in the Central Library’s outdoor courtyard. It’s not cold and the air is rich, rubbing off on me if only by association. Everything smells bloomy. I’m not writing here, which makes me sad, but I’m not depressed either. There is just a lot to do, and I have other jobs.

But with an hour finally to spare, I made off to the library to snoop around in old telephone directories. (Now you know how kinky I really am…!) Remember, however, that I was a very busy teenage witch here 30 years ago, but that since then I’ve been whacked over the head with amnesia, also called life. (Like, you haven’t? As if!)

After looking up the addresses of old um, friends, I looked in the reverse directories to find out more about the people who have owned my house in decades past. Rabbi Markowitz and family were the last to do anything legal or worthy here, hanging on to the place for 8 years, till ’85 or ’86. Before their tenure, it was an orgy of 70s revolving door hand-overs, no doubt fueled by the energy crisis and the problems of heating an old uninsulated barn like this: people lived here for a year or two, then left. After the M’s left, the house went to a building supplies store manager who managed to foist every ill-conceived DIY atrocity imaginable on the structure — without a permit, of course.

NB: in the past year, we ransomed the treasury of a small kingdom to bring this house into the late 20th if not 21st century, energy-efficiency-wise: insulated and be-storm-windowed, it is now markedly more comfortable and eats up half the oil to heat. And we added steel beams to compensate for the building supply store manager’s zeal in removing interior weight-bearing walls… So now we’re warm & comfy and it looks like the house won’t fall down around our ears, hooray. Meanwhile, in the other very real world, actual small kingdoms — countries — continue to have their (meagre) treasuries ransacked, however, for which I feel profoundly sorry especially since those ransackers aren’t doing anything to save oil or other resources or to ensure dignity for their fellow human beings. Nor do I expect that they’re building good architecture or renovating used houses thoughtfully. Sometimes I wonder why I bother, but I haven’t found a credible alternative yet.


Joel February 29, 2004 at 3:17 am

If half the Christians who went to see Passion came home and did half the thinking you do on consumption, what a great religion it would be!

Betsy February 29, 2004 at 4:43 am

You got me thinking about Morocco, which is a neighbour to us in the Mediterranean rim context, and its recent quake. Those were certainly not anti-seismic buildings that crumbled, and the same can be said for the other recent quakes in the middle east. However, the builders have been implicated this time. Let’s hope the rebuilding is sounder, but somehow I have my doubts.
Victoria really is Paradise, only the wasps to remind you that it’s on earth.

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