This week I bid goodbye to the flat that I’ve called home for eighteen months. It’s a beautiful flat in a beautiful neighbourhood and so, when I moved in, I was sure that I wouldn’t leave it until I left Glasgow. But the relationship which a self-employed person has with her home is more complex than those of people whose lives are more structured, more healthily compartmentalised. Because I often work from home – processing photographs, sending emails, invoicing – the boundaries between home as a place of work and home as a place of leisure and relaxation become less distinct. That the table where I sit and work is the same table from which I clear beer bottles and well-fed ashtrays after weekend parties, and the sofa where I sit and negotiate fees is the same sofa where, hours later, I curl up with my other half and watch a movie, creates a dull but unpleasant tension.
When work is quiet, I don’t consider myself to have free time because my mind is occupied by a vague and continuous unease about not working. During this time, when my friends and partner are busy working regular or long hours and, say, the weather is terrible – and sometimes even when it’s not – it’s easy for someone of my temperament to fall into spending an entire day without leaving the house and without speaking to another human being. Even the hundreds of imaginary worlds in my bookshelves and DVD cases aren’t enough to stave off the inevitable despondency that attends days like these. I’m reminded of the Paul Simon lyric "Sonny sits by his window and thinks to himself / How it’s strange that some rooms are like cages."
I always knew that I should work away from home, but it’s a truth which makes itself felt very gradually and fuzzily, and ignoring it is often attractive and convenient. Now I make a point of working in a cafe or a library whatever the weather, but it is too late for this room and this flat: I have allowed too much negative baggage and stress to accumulate, however figuratively, within these walls.
So when an exciting opportunity to move appeared at just the right time, I took it, and at the end of this week will find myself in a new home which I intend to keep shielded from the stress of my busy work life and the melancholy of my quiet work life.
Tagged: , 5192 , Home , Flat , House , Glasgow , Tenement , Living , Room , Rug , Fireplace , Couch , Sofa , Interior , Window , Sunlight , Hyndland , West , End