7.11.2013

preview

vintage glass bathroom doorknob, morning

houseplant at kitchen window, morning

windowsill geraniums, evening

While unpacking and fitting my belongings this week into closets and cupboards, trying to anticipate the most logical configurations of where things should go—predicting "user experience" without the experience—I've been watching the early summer light move around the apartment. The light shifts unexpectedly each hour, bouncing off the surrounding buildings. There is more light in the bathroom, say, in early morning than in the evening, though it faces west. This is not a bright apartment, despite being south- and west-facing, because of the surrounding buildings, so the constraints on photography will prove challenging, especially in winter. But those same cocooning buildings block most of the street noise, and the brick-wall view from the main room offers textural interest and privacy, if not light: trade-offs, the stuff of life.

Psychologists claim moving is fairly high up on the list of common personal stressors. One is faced with the physical evidence of choices made over time, having to reassess all possessions (Why do I own this? Do I want to keep it? What should I do with it?), worrying about things getting damaged in the actual move, unpacking and reconfiguring one's nest—decisions, decisions, decisions. And of course, there's a long to-do list when moving residences, from address changes to utility calls to fix-it checklists. Some people hate moving so much they rarely do it. But Americans, historically restless, tend to move for better jobs (though not as much as in the past), especially, say surveys, if they are educated, affluent, or urban rather than rural. Oregon is one of the states currently attracting the most relocaters, despite all our rain.

Residence changes are bets, calculated risks. Though mine was only a matter of a ten-minute drive downtown, when carless, that's a major shift, cutting off one whole leg of a public-transport commute. I'm betting on increased quality of life from being more centrally located for future jobs in the densest urban core, mere blocks from Portland's main public-transit mall, hoping for payoff.

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