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The fine art of indulgent squalor.   By Hannah Wallace I got up at noon on Sunday.   Dragged myself from the bed to the toilet (all of 12 feet away). Dressed myself from the pile of warm-up pants and t-shirts I’d stepped over on my “morning” “stroll.” Ate an apple and drank the last […]

May 16, 2007


The fine art of indulgent squalor.
 
By Hannah Wallace

I got up at noon on Sunday.
 
Dragged myself from the bed to the toilet (all of 12 feet away). Dressed myself from the pile of warm-up pants and t-shirts I’d stepped over on my “morning” “stroll.” Ate an apple and drank the last of the milk straight from the carton.
 
(I can see now that people are no longer buying my “no day of rest” theme from last entry.)
 
Saturday night I’d attended the black-tie gala at Selby Gardens, wearing a silk Ralph Lauren skirt and my favorite black halter top, accessorized with a new silver shrug, sparkly earrings and a red clown nose (it was, after all, the auctioning of the clowns). But I’m a well-rounded gal, so I like to balance out that finery with a bit of slumming: One day I’m Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the next I’m Fight Club.
 
Yeah, I get confused with Audrey Hepburn all the time.
 
I think my point here (and of course, I’m never quite sure) is that sometimes my grittier, everyday realities can be just as self-indulgent as the black-tie romantic fantasies—especially when I’m reminding myself that this kind of “grittiness” isn’t much more than set-dressing to begin with.
 
In college I had the unfortunate habit of waiting until the eve of the due date to write 10-page papers. (Once I realized I could churn out that much verbiage in a sleep-free night, I never rediscovered the motivation to start any sooner.) But I also savored the something unsavory in taking an exhausted 7 a.m. shower accompanied by a cup of black coffee (the closest I come to smoking while bathing) and trudging off unkempt for a few more hours before I could finally pile myself into a bunk bed at the peak of the afternoon.
 
I like a little irreverent departure from the obligation to be squeaky clean. Some of that minimalist, unbothered approach to everything is at the heart of “cool.” (And, hey, a girl can dream of being cool, from time to time.) I don’t know how many people would actually take umbrage at these minor offenses, but it is fun to pose against propriety.
 
Or maybe it’s that mine is the age when you dream less about infinite riches and start enjoying the quirky, bare-bones existence you’ve settled into. I appreciate the heck out of my good job, tickets to fancy events and home near the water. But I also enjoy rolling my eyes at my job’s bureaucratic peeves and scoffing at some of the hoopla of fancy events; and I enjoy that my kitchen is a toaster oven on top of a microwave on top of a refrigerator, all of which are technically in my bedroom. I enjoy those things that let me celebrate my squalid, grumpy, lazy side.
 
Also on that list: playing back-to-back hockey games, then drinking a beer with teammates before I even take my skates off; or sleeping for 12 hours, throwing on wrinkled, unlaundered clothes, then spending the afternoon with my bare feet up on my roadside-acquired patio table, reading Nabokov and eating gummy bears.
 
It’s hardly a hard-knock life. Maybe that’s the fun of it.