I moved the coffee pot from here to there.
Sorry, I should have warned you before confessing that. I should have offered you the chance to sit down.
But since I didn’t let’s continue.
I moved the coffee pot. Not only that but I moved the Chemex and the digital scale, too. All from here to there.
Here used to be the far corner of the kitchen island, which is the only part of the kitchen island near a power outlet. The pot, the Chemex and the scale sat on the edge of the island, the furthest possible location from the pantry where the coffee and the filters are. The next furthest location from the water I needed to pour into it. The next-next furthest location to where I carried the full Chemex every morning to pour it into the mug before throwing the used filter in the garbage pail in the next-next-next furthest location.
It took me nearly five years to decide to move the coffee pot to there, which is on the counter near the pantry, next to the water, right across from the pouring spot.
It takes me a while, but sometimes I have Good Ideas.
For the next week I kept getting the coffee and the filters and the water and bringing it around the opposite side of the island where the coffee pot wasn’t anymore. Fortunately, it took me less time to remember where I put it than it has to learn to write 2024. The other day, I actually dated something 2019.
Why I moved it is less interesting than that I moved it. It’s even less interesting than why I didn’t, which had to do with that counter space being consumed by my bar for quite some time, and also being under the cabinets which is perhaps not the best place for steam to rise, and right beside the stove so it catches a fair amount of bacon grease.
The interesting part, the part that actually got me thinking, was that I moved it. And it reminded me that sometimes all you really need to improve a day is to move something from here to there.
When I was very much younger, where younger means anything but what I am now, and living in my parents’ house, I used to move my bedroom furniture around with some regularity.
One day the bed was in front of the window with floor space on either side. Another day it was against a wall with floor space in the middle of the room. Yet another day it was catty-cornered with no useful floor space whatsoever but it looked cool and made things feel different and interesting.
Moving the bedroom furniture was no small feat. The coffee pot went willingly, in about sixteen seconds. The bedroom furniture required dismantling an entire hutch full of dozens of little bear figurines and assorted memorabilia and kitsch, and relocating a Simon Le Bon poster or two. It required dragging a four-poster bed somewhere across a carpet, at one point shag. It required taking down the mirror hanging over my dresser and re-hanging it on another wall.
It required re-homing about six hundred stuffed animals.
The really amazing thing about this is that of course I couldn’t do it alone. First I had to enlist my mother so that we could stand in my ten-by-ten room and contemplate how many ways we could move things. We had to debate the merits of bed against wall or bed against other wall or bed against no wall. We had to have serious discussions about whether moving the hutch from here to there would diminish its enjoyment, as it would only be seen from a certain vantage point. We took our job very seriously.
Any given room has only four walls, and sometimes not even that depending on where the doors and closets are located. But that didn’t stop us from trying to rearrange things in utterly unique and heretofore unseen configurations. It didn’t stop us taking out the tape measure time and again to see if the dresser that didn’t fit on one part of the wall last time wouldn’t suddenly fit this time, if we just moved it slightly differently.
Sometimes, tape measure notwithstanding, we were not convinced we couldn’t make it work, at which point we had to enlist my father. He would come into my room and start moving things from here to there, first the bed on this wall, as my mother and I stood tapping our fingers to our lips in contemplation. If we were not satisfied, he would move it to that wall, then somewhere in the middle, then anywhere else that might prove to be the most perfect place we never thought of in that square room of four walls.
Eventually all the furniture was moved to our utter joy and amazement that a bed six inches to the left could look so much better than it had before.
At that point I placed all of the little bear figurines and assorted memorabilia and kitsch in exactly the same places as they were before, because sometimes you can’t mess with perfection, and sometimes the little picnic bear just needs to always be in the front.
My parents’ utter lack of impatience with the process still astounds me.
Moving the coffee pot from here to there reminded me of all this. It reminded me that change is a good thing. And when you walk into a room and the bed isn’t where it was yesterday, or the digital scale isn’t where it was yesterday, a couple of extra neurons fire in your brain and you think “oh!”
And then you go on with your day.
But somehow that difference is enough to push some endorphins your way and make things seem new and interesting.
I suppose that’s why I spend so much time rearranging closets. Sometimes – ok, most times – it’s in a somewhat futile effort to get organized. But sometimes it’s because putting the sweaters on the left instead of the right makes your clothes look different, and you see them a little more, and they are suddenly interesting. And you go ahead and wear that yellow t-shirt that spent the last two years at the bottom of a pile.
It’s why I have a compulsion to reorganize my bookshelves occasionally, because nonfiction should really be on the bottom shelves and literature on the top. Unless literature needs to be on the bottom, because sometimes it does.
And sometimes the silverware needs to be in the other drawer.
And sometimes I need to be in a mountain and sometimes on a beach but never in the car trying to make a left turn in Middle Tennessee.
Coffee pot today, road trip tomorrow. That’s how change works.
Anyway, I’m all for it, unless the grocery store moves the shelves around because there is nothing, nothing worse in the world than looking for bread in the aisle where it always is and finding raisins instead.
Because some change is just unconscionable.