Friday, December 16, 2011

Changes a Brewin' in Whim Cotty Walls

Things are changing piece by piece this week in Whim Cotty. A suddenly empty wall opens up. I stop in the bathroom, unsettled because something has changed. Ah yes, the grim "CLEAN YOUR TEETH" poster that reflects menacingly in our vanity mirror has been removed. I had stopped the same way when it first appeared, held up with masking tape this last August. It took several days to find the culprit: Avery's artistic choice to put it up. Her moving out to take it down.

It's been an adventure having 5 roommates this semester. Perhaps I don't want to say "adventure". I say "adventure" when I'm trying to make a comedic tale out of something I didn't quite enjoy. And I did enjoy having 5 roommates. Not just housemates. Roommates. In case you didn't know, Whim Cotty boasts of 1 bedroom that was formerly the living room/dinning room. All of 5 of us lived in various corners of that space. It kind of surprises me now that I'm thinking about it. It shouldn't have work. Somedays it didn't. But most of the time, I enjoyed the strangeness. I grew very comfortable with sleeping to the sound of a fan running every night.

Whim Cotty is not the typical apartment shape. If it were, none of the choices we made this semester would have turned out as well as they did. It is the first floor of an older stone home in the Holmes/Foster district of State College. We live in a bizarre
E
 shape. The middle line is the first hallway. The long left of the E is the hallway that runs the length of the house and contains the "i room" and the bathroom. The top line is the kitchen and old bedroom that we use as a living room. The bottom line is the old dinning room and living room, which is the bedroom for 5. Soon to be 3.

Avery is moving out due to graduation and the onset of what we Valley Dwellers like to refer to in hushed tones as "real life". Jocelyn, by living in the madness that is/was our home, discovered that she is a very strong introvert. She loves us and we love her, but she needs a room with a door. It was a valuable insight to gain, one that the strange shape and sounds of Whim Cotty was able to give.

This set up has taught me a lot about space and how we each use it and what we need it to be doing. Yes, static walls can be active shapers of interactions and relationships. Each of us has taken up a corner and made it our own. There was something about our personalities in each of these spaces. Nicolle seemed to take to the long couch in the living room and could be found there doing work at any hour. Jocelyn was the same but only when she has the option to close the door and be there alone. Before it was cold, she used the back porch quite a bit [it isn't heated]. Avery was always in the i room, particularly on the white chair. Mel would wander, rarely settling to do work unless it was reading before bed but choosing places where she could talk and interact, often the kitchen. And me? I chose as I have chosen since I was a high school student, my bed. I put my beloved desk right up next to it and spent hours in the back corner, the farthest away from all of the action that I could. I never minded another person in the room as long as I could find a place where, on occasion, people wouldn't talk to me. I use the bed as a couch, chair, table, etc. I nap, I read, I watch movies, etc.

It's fascinating to think how the walls and size of a room and the amount of light it gets helps to determine what is a room is and how it is used. It is fascinating to think about how personalities shape the way that a space is used. And I love Whim Cotty. Not everyone in our house has loved it the same way. I am in love with its quirks and traits, the way the bathroom door gets stuck, the eerie sound of the basement, the shape of the living room and the chair that gets the light in the winter afternoons, our bizarre tile pattern in the kitchen. It's a good place with good wood floors and a good feel to it.

As Anjali said last night with her inaugural visit: "I can see why you call it 'Whim Cotty' now. It's a perfect name."

1 comment:

faye76000 said...

ha! glad that you see there is magic in the arrangement of space and light, because that is what drawn me into studying what I'm studying now. Our instinct nudge us to find a place of comfort, even in our subconscious, and architecture helps us to find that physical place.