I expect to see bellhops

I come into my apartment building laden with the fruits of my shopping, heavy bags of groceries weighting down each arm. I stop in the lobby for a moment, sitting on the leather armchair, admiring the rubber plants and the intricately-patterned carpeting. It looks like the entrance to a small but lovely hotel.

Seattle is full of these places, apartment buildings christened with fancy monikers. They remind me of the beach homes I see in North Carolina. These seaside retreats sport names like Pirate’s Landing, Our Paradise, or Sailor’s Cove. Here we have The Franconia, The Aloha House, The Tiki. I used to live in an apartment building with a man’s name. For the sake of alias, I’ll call it The Fred Williams. I wondered who Fred Williams was, even as I lived within the doors of his eponymous fiefdom.

I find these old apartment houses fascinating, and I admire their architectural details. Many have leaded glass windows, carved stone porticoes. Fancy tiles and fountains decorate the outside of one with a Moroccan theme. Some have small entries while others have cavernous lobbies with large groupings of stuffed armchairs and even fireplaces. I think they may have been grand hotels at one time. These lobbies are usually empty, perhaps waiting for travelers from the past to arrive with their bags. I wonder.

Other apartment buildings in Seattle were obviously motels that have now been converted into living spaces. I am curious to see inside one, to see how a tiny room meant for temporary shelter has become a home. How does its compactness shape the person who lives there? The studio I lived in had a closet that used to hold a Murphy bed. It was the perfect place for one of my huge bookcases. I made this leftover space my own, and I wonder how others fare in their converted living arrangements. Do they have a lobby somewhere that serves stale donuts and bad coffee, in deference to the past? Is there an ice machine? The city tells me stories as I sit at its feet, and I am the child asking questions. Your hometown can talk to you, too. Walk around and listen.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

42. Does the place where you live have a name? If not, what name would best describe it? Or, if you’re not yet in the ideal location, what would be the best name for the place you’d like to live?

Advertisements

I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s