A real estate broker once told us that we didn’t want to live in “The Corridor,” but now, with all the beautifying work going on at practically every house in the neighborhood save ours, I feel blessed to be living within it.
“The value of our property is soaring without our even having to lift a finger!” I said to Mary on O’en’s and my return from this morning’s walk. “Landscapers are all over, trees are being planted, houses are being transformed. . . .”
She, who has been sifting in her head all manner of projects lately as I have been reading about the well-examined life on the couch, was dubious. Was it the case of a rising tide lifting all boats, or were we the worm in the ointment, stinky and unsavory — hairballs, as it were, in The Corridor.
“All is vanity and vexation of spirit,” I said, yet mindful that further on Ecclesiastes says, “By much slothfulness the building decayeth and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.”
Georgie has said we’re a teardown in the end anyway, given this surging wave of gentrification, so why the urge to gild the lily or, in our case, the dandelion? Ah, I know, it’s the pandemic. These handiworks I see about me are hymns to the resilience of life and to beauty, bold assertions that we are, indeed, still alive, still here. I know the feeling, though it’s come mostly from being able to play tennis again than from undertaking home improvements or mowing the lawn, which I can’t bear to do now given all the glistening, foot-high buttercups that adorn it.
I can barely walk after having played yesterday — my first set of singles in many months — and yet I am more me than I’ve been in a while, more attuned to life and, yes, Mary, more willing to repaint the interior trim.