July 14, 2008
I know it's a stretch, but I also was pretty sure that title would get your attention.
Here's the point: Now that I'm in a position to think about looking for a better apartment -- my house in Fairhope has been sold, and my financial position is considerably improved. I watch (compulsively, perhaps) the Home and Garden cable TV network, seeing such shows as "Get It Sold," "House Hunters," "Designed To Sell," and so on. I even like "Sell This House," "Moving Up," "Property Ladder," and "Flipping Out," on other channels.
But one evening I was watching "House Hunters International" and saw a lovely, whippet-slim English model who was looking for a better apartment in Paris than the one she lived in. I've been to Paris many times and know the vicissitudes of European plumbing and the inadequacy of many of their kitchens. (I was told when I lived in Geneva, the small kitchens and wonky appliances were the result of the Swiss penchant for eating out or having events catered; it could have been that these cultural differences were actually that people ate out or brought in because the kitchens were so small, but that's not the way they see it.)
So here's this glamorous model, upgrading her necessities in the City of Light. She says to the realtor, "I'd love to find a place where I wouldn't have to walk up three or four flights of stairs. But then, this is Paris, and that's the price one expects to pay to live in a beautiful old flat in Paris."
I look out the window at Hudson Street -- beautiful old 19th Century mansions, now being rented out floor by floor as apartments -- and can say the same thing. "Well, this is Hoboken, and to live in a beautiful old place, you're probably going to have to live in an apartment three or four flights up."
In some ways, it's like Paris.