Wednesday, July 25, 2012
This New House
This is a picture of a kitchen cabinet knob, and if you peer closely at it you'll see that it's imprinted with the miniature paw print of a bear.
It's a cute accessory for the little house we hope to move into soon in a neighborhood where a real bear makes an appearance from time to time.
Bears have it all going on. They're endearing but also menacing if they get too close, and thanks to these qualities they've been fetishized in our mountain community, subject of hundreds of crude chainsaw sculptures all over town.
We're not interested in those, much as we like bears. To our way of thinking, the embossed kitchen knobs is a more nuanced homage. It's only one example of the countless items I've been asked to consider lately that I never would have expected to.
I've never paid a nanosecond's attention to any kitchen knob that didn't come off in my hand, so it was a revelation to me to learn that there are many different styles to choose from. That's actually an understatement. There are many thousands, and when you're done with style you still have size and color to deal with. You're not done yet. You need to decide where to place the knob on the cabinet door.
Once you graduate from knobs, you move along to drawer pulls. You're not overwhelmed by all this decision making because by now you have already chosen the cabinets and drawers themselves and have long since mastered the art of producing opinions out of thin air.
It's better to have a round toilet than one of those long oval ones. Or is it? Glass on a shower door should be clear, not beaded or misted. Or should it? A pine ceiling looks tacky and cliched with anything more than a clear coat of varnish over it. Or does it?
I've moved in and out of dozens of dwelling places without knowing or caring how this sort of thing got decided. The rooms and their appurtenances were what they were, which for the most part was just fine, or at least serviceable.
But the day we started our little house from scratch, acceptance became a luxury I could no longer afford.