Monday, September 28, 2015

house decoration (and yard sales)

As I said a couple of days back, the trouble with fully furnished rented accommodation is that one can feel as though one's living in the middle of a yard sale.  That is - one's living not just with someone else's furniture, and rugs, and paintings, and kitchen equipment, and so on - and books - but with their tchotchkes, their knick-knacks, their mementos.  And this is a forceful reminder of how one's own house may seem from the outside - with ornaments and objects that carry a full weight of feeling and associations for us, but to other people have no such resonances of where they were purchased, or who gave them to us, or whatever.  In other words, it brings home quite how much of the personal and intangible we invest in what we put on our shelves or window ledges. 

This jug exemplifies the point perfectly.  It's a Faenza piece - i.e. from more or less northern Italy, near Ravenna.  I actually like it a lot (were this to be a real yard sale, I'd pounce on it) - I completely censor myself in taking, and putting on line, any images of things that, well, I might find in bad taste, or weird taste.  I'd have no such compunction, I'm sure, if the person renting to me were a complete stranger - but when they're not - that's different.  I feel enough of an intruder, a voyeur, as it is, even if things are on open display.  And here's the point - who knows what stories may lie behind those iffy objects - stories and contexts that, even if recounted, might provide explanations for their presence, but still would offer up no real visceral point of contact.  Without such contexts, I feel as though I'm living in a house of lost and unmoored things.

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