Vol. 5, Issue 5, September 11, 2007
The Search Engine of Tomorrow!
The Dept. of Social Scrutiny

Home, Sweet Home

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

A man's home is his Castle, goes the oft-worn adage; and if the Battlements are not so high, nor the Drawbridge so very tight against the predations of third-class Mail, it is nonetheless a bastion of Security from which one can sally forth into the day's Travails. In a thousand quiet ways, our homes provide a backdrop for the many Acts of our Lives, whether they be Tragedies, Comedies, or one of those exceedingly perplexing French plays about bald Opera-singers. (All the world may be a Stage, but some actors are better than Others!)

But for all the stability our homes Provide, and in spite of the ageless stone and Brick that comprise their shells, a Home is frequently more ephemeral than we would like to admit. Gone are the days of ancestral Manors in the Old World, where generation after generation was free to Dilute the family's purse and one could delight in adding yet another architecturally Incompatible expansion to a centuries-old domicile. Here, in America, we trade homes very nearly as often as we change our Shirts (at least, this is the case for some of the less Sanitary among us). It is a necessary part of the Dynamic nature of our society, but an Unsettling one; we are at heart a restless and somewhat Rootless people, papering over our transient natures with a skillful combination of philosophical élan and large, heavy Pottery Barn accessories.

As you may have Guessed, I myself was recently compelled to change my Address, and the experience, though hardly a Novel one for me, prompted the usual unsettling sense of Limbo. I always pack my Steamer-trunk with the Essentials for a long voyage when moving, even if the change is only cross-Town. One never knows what unforeseen Adventures may impede the timely set-up of the new Domicile. Barbary pirates, for example, were a most Unexpected obstacle to one of my Relocations, all the more so because I was merely moving across the Street in the suburbs of Philadelphia. But the Well-prepared man is not Inconvenienced by such trifles! I have with me a More than adequate supply of Smoking-jackets, Tobacco, fresh Socks, and Waistcoats; the rest is inessential.

I have my shiftless nephew Ephram and his cronies at my Disposal of course; these nominal employees of mine could Hardly refuse a request for assistance from their stalwart Editor. But I know better than to package my Possessions into neat, highly portable Boxes and then hand them over to this crowd - I would be lucky to see even Half the boxes again, much less the Employees. So I have instead employed the services of a stalwart group of stevedores recruited from Captain Longstocking's schooner (he is a good Friend of mine from my days on the Cribbage circuit). I watched them heave trunks and boxes with practiced Aplomb, loading it all onto the Truck with such dash and Verve that I could not bear to Watch for very long. I beat a hasty Retreat to the Office with my new canine companion, Baron, who has come to follow in old Toby's footprints. He is rather Larger than most hounds - indeed larger than many People - and hence takes up a goodly amount of the Floor once we arrive. But no Matter: his bulk entirely blocks the Door, such that my nephew can essay no Chicanery unseen with Baron snoring astride the gates.

It is strange, but this cluttered Office has a suggested permanence that my Home does not. I know, of course, that it has Changed since first I set up shop here; that my copy of Lucretius is a replacement for the one accidentally set on Fire that fateful February morn, that we are short at least one or two Cutlasses and that there is an extra wooden Leg somewhere about; that everything has been endlessly Overturned and set right as my shiftless staff continues its futile quest for my hidden cache of top-quality Scotch in my absence. And yet! - And yet, these very changes, incremental or other, form a part of the fabric that makes this place timeless. I am at Ease here, amidst my piles of correspondence and the Clatter of the difference- engines in the other Room, in a way that I never am in my own home.

This evening, I will step across the threshhold of my new House, beginning the slow process of turning it into a new Home (a process which Baron shall accelerate merely by shedding in the Study). But I find that its permanence, tied merely to my daily routines of dressing and Sleeping, is but a feeble candle compared to the warm light that my office casts. It is here that I find my anchor, here in the unchanging offices of the Review that I can truly relax. There is more to a Home than a bed and a parcel of land, and I am fortunate to have found such a good one.


Bookmark and Share