yes, we've been shopping for a new monkey home and we are demoralised, overwhelmed, tired, and rather disappointed with ourselves.
having looked at countless (ok, 6) new condos, we have noticed a disturbing trend or two: first of all, the dining area is gone. no longer are you allowed to sit with your friends and family* at a table to partake of the lord's bounty in the form of kraft dinner doctored with some louisiana hot sauce. nay, from hencewith (forthwith? henceforth? what?) you shall dine, north american style, perched half-assed atop a bar stool at your breakfast bar. if you should crave the company of someone other than your spouse, you shall have your dinners on your laps, on the couch, eyes dully staring at the large screen tv, precluding any kind of conversation. your kitchen will be shiny, new and will remain virginal. damn it, that's why god invented mcdonald's. (or so it seems).
second of all, no matter how large (or, more likely, small) a place is, it is made that much smaller by the inadvertent mosaic of floorings. look! in the living room! wood! or a (more or less) reasonable facsimile thereof! look! in the foyer and kitchen! tile! and look! in the bedrooms! carpet! oh yes! sometimes even shag! because north americans are apparently morally opposed to the cold hard reality of a hardwood floor first thing in the morning and are more than happy to alleviate this with dust mites, allergens and filth! because area rugs are of the devil! (or so it seems).
last night, we saw two condos in a building that boggles the mind. unlike some, where a vegas style theme is created with little concern for taste or quality (i'm looking at you, venetian), this place was shiny and cool and tasteful (bits of it were covered in the kind of wallpaper i imagine adorns god's lounge - i could not stop fondling it fondly). there was marble where there ought to be marble**, there was subtle play of light and dark, there was a shiny glass elevator, there were gleaming expanses of things that gleam. in a word: wow.
our reaction to it, although initially one of awe and desire, soon gave way to a strange mix of guilt and unworthiness: imagine the heady mix of catholic guilt, middle class guilt*** and minimal-footprint guilt, layered with a pervasive sense of fiscal responsibility that makes us think and rethink and re-rethink every single solitary purchase until it becomes easier to just walk away (blame the immigrant experience for that, methinks). yes, perhaps it's a tad too much, perhaps the courtyard with the (very tasteful) fake palm-trees and the gentle murmur of the (very real) indoor fountain aren't really us. i'm fine with that. but why in the hell do we feel like we need to live in a hole? is it our hard assed reaction to the overwhelming consumerist message of "you deserve it!"? or are we really just closet hair-shirt self-flagellating types?
*perhaps it is assumed that condo dwellers are either the forgotten elderly (looming death!) or the carefree gay (eternal damnation!) and thus have no friends or family, and subsist on packets of crisps and bourbon.
**tastefully done, i assure you.
***upon coming home, mr. monkey even made a weak reference to "the children in africa" at which point i kicked him and told him that even this, our humble temporary lodgings, rotting floors and all, would be like balm to the sun scorched "children in africa" and not to be stupid.