I’m somewhat allergic to the idea of interior decorating.

And by “somewhat allergic,” I mean the thought of it nearly throws me into a panic attack.

Part of that is due to the fact that I’m pretty out of touch with my external world. Case in point: One day last semester, I was walking with my friend Christine and had a severe, phlegmy (I hate to cause disgust to anyone, but it’s the truth) coughing attack.

“Oh,” said I, “I wonder if I’m getting sick.”

Christine looked at me strangely. “Lauren, you’ve been coughing nonstop for the last three days. Maybe I should have told you. . .but I thought you would have noticed.”

I hadn’t.

I often don’t decorate because I don’t even notice the need.

Part of my decorating phobia has to do with the fact that I’ve spent the last nine years of my life in a more-or-less transitory state, packing up everything at the end of every school year to move elsewhere for the summer and to a new room upon my return to school. Throughout those years, I had neither storage space nor money, so it seemed easiest to just keep the bare essentials in my room at any given time.

The final third of my aversion to decorating is a direct result of my taste. I have an abundant lack of taste. Take, for example, the thing I fell in love with my sophomore year of high school. I call it a thing because I will be forced to abdicate the English language if I find that we’ve coined a term for the monstrosity. It was like iridescent spaghetti noodles glued to a revolving plastic base which shot out psychedelic lights. Whatever you are imagining, it was worse; and I adored it.

With this knowledge in mind, I decided not to decorate upon my arrival in SC. I know the approximate date of my departure, as well as the square footage of my car, in which I’ll have to transport all my stuff to my next destination, wherever that may be. And I really don’t like the idea of having to figure out what to do with a bunch of stuff that exists merely to be pretty.

Or so I thought.

During the past few weeks, however, I’ve started to imagine all sorts of possibilities regarding inexpensive ways to liven up my space, to make it feel like home instead of “Home Sweet Barracks.” I have no solid evidence regarding what brought all this on, but my theory is that it’s a combination of having lived in the same house for (*gasp*!) a year and a half, and the wave of shame I experience every time I invite my friends follow me, uninvited, into the barren wasteland in which I lay me down to sleep every night.

I’ve got all sorts of fun ideas, most of which I probably don’t have the talent/money to carry out, but which are fun to dream about in the meantime. I did, however, manage to have a fit of manic energy today that brought about the following:

First, I compiled all my writings into one chronologically ordered notebook. I especially enjoyed reading my journal writings and letters from high school and freshman year of college. One, written (but thankfully never sent) to the wonderfully patient Michèle Phoenix, contained this quote: “Michèle, we have a problem. His name is inconsequential.”

I’m a very blasè, drama-free kind of girl. (And I now really wish his name had been consequential, because I can’t for my life remember who this problem was).

Finding that my manic energy had not yet subsided, I also tackled the problem that was my bulletin board. Up until this time, the theme of said area appears to have been “expiration,” for in the emptying thereof, I discovered an expired physical therapy prescription, an expired subway ticket, and (inexplicably, even to a packrat like me), ‘expired’ luggage tags from a trip to Turkey many years ago. A few minutes of concentrated junk-disposal action, a sweep of my arm to clear off my cluttered desk, and behold:

I call this work “The Start of Something New.”

Alternate title: “The Night I Discovered My Accessory Addiction.” (I’ve always known that I have a bit of a jewelry problem, but my obsessions appear to be spreading to hats and scarves, as well.)

Are these big steps toward settling in? To the average person, no. To Lauren the Nomad, any step toward making her organizational and visual environments more palatable is akin to a major commitment.

I think I’m starting to settle down a bit. . .

. . .but if you accuse me of doing so in person, I’ll deny it soundly.


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