What I see in my apartment: ‘I can see potholes in the concrete, like Eve says’

This podcast was taped a few days ago in the hallway of my Manhattan apartment building. It’s on my desk: my tiny pitch-black library. I was set to say I liked my place a lot, but I didn’t because, if I knew anyone else who was inspired by their apartment, I might as well grab my suitcase and go home. Any time.

At the time, this show was taped, I couldn’t shut the door and stare into the blackness. It made me feel sick, the stress of it all. But here I am, thinking it’s all so wonderful. And it is, with a giant puddle of water splashing all over the wall.

So is my area “messy”? Actually, no. My place isn’t very messy. I definitely don’t live in a bathroom with a full brick wall and potholes in the concrete, as Eve, the host of Chasing Real, puts it on the show.

I know you’re not done yet! If you’re still here, hear it now.

So, in some words: my apartment is not messy, but I can see it’s not manicured, either. I get to enjoy interesting sights and smells, and encounters with street dogs and feral cats. But what I’ve learned in the time I’ve spent doing the show is that being surrounded by chaos is actually an empowering experience. So, why clean up all the little messes your friends and neighbours seem to manage?

I’ve learned about less-stated ways to make a room clean without looking like you’re a total loser. For instance, chipped paint is disgusting! So this week I fixed that by chipping paint with the tip of a mallet. If you know where to use a mallet, you can repair things in small spaces all over a house! But it’s not so easy if you’re trying to break into a friend’s flat and quickly move a sofa.

Sometimes I’ll see a spunkier apartment than mine. And sometimes I’ll buy some ugly furniture to get my taste in cozier places. Yes, the stuff I’m talking about is ugly. But I will still say that it is beautiful if the owner goes through all that effort to make their space look like something beautiful.

So, if it’s not messy, not overflowing with junk, and home is always lovely, why clean it up? And then you get messy, too. So why do people clean everything up all the time? Who the heck is doing that and why is that enjoyable?

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