Pre-Terrible-Acting-Performance as Anakin Skywalker, Post-Teenage-Druggie/Heartthrob in rehab-drama Higher Ground, a young Hayden Christensen was in a little film called Life As A House with Kevin Kline. This movie spoke deeply to me– with all my teen angst from freshman year of high school– and made me surprisingly and truly appreciate the blunt/overbearingly obvious titular metaphor: Life, as a house. It’s something we build and something we toil with and sometimes things are crooked and costly… but ultimately it’s where we learn and laugh and cry and eat and sleep and work and play.
Since moving in to my new house, the spare hours have been filled with countless projects: painting walls, chairs, picture frames. Installing shelves. Organizing the laundry room. Trips to Goodwill. Whittling down boxes of junk and piles of clothes. I’m on a first-name basis with a woman at Home Depot (sup, Darlene?)
Suddenly, without warning, my House Project Stamina wore out. Whilst trying to hang curtains, I realized I was attempting to drill into solid brick. Standing on a ladder, pushing against the drill with sweat dripping into my eyes, I knew it wouldn’t budge. From my stance, I realized our old house’s foundation must be crooked because though the level reads straight, the beam look crooked. At that moment, the sky opened up and dumped buckets of rain on my freshly painted chairs. Life, as a house.
At some point during the drilling fiasco and the thunderous rain, I gave up. I left the curtain hanging halfway secure on the wall and curled up into a ball on my bed. Yep. That’s it. Done. Nope. No more. I’m eating a huge bowl of popcorn and calling it a night. Calling it a week. Calling it, never to return. I left that half-hanging excuse for a curtain for a few hours, wishing it would magically fix itself or some boy would appear out of nowhere and do it for me. I think I binge-watched 3 episodes of Breaking Bad before emotionally surfacing from the storm.
When I finally slid my sweaty sad self out of the bed (to get more popcorn, obviously) I noticed the flowers on our dining room table– colorfully and meticulously perched in a jar for no other reason than my enjoyment. I went outside and listened to the rain. I listened to it splash the fresh paint off the wooden chairs. I looked at my half-finished coffee table project and a yard littered with paint cans and mud. I stepped out into the rain and stood there for a moment, letting my glasses fog up and obstruct my view. I turned and faced the house, looking at its quiet red hue through droplets on the frames. It was messy and serene in the backyard mud and quiet except for the plink plink of rain hitting my face and shoulders.
Life, as a house.