Growing up, I always knew I wanted a house. Yes, sir. Nothing would be better than owning your own home with a basement, a backyard, and a kitchen island for setting stuff down on when you get back from doing groceries. I looked forward to having a garage and a front yard and sump pump (whatever the hell that was). And years later, after much hard work, I was finally able to afford my own home. One in Montreal and then, later and for many years, in Vancouver. And in time I came to realize – I didn’t want a house.
I didn’t want to mow the lawn or tend to a garden or change the damn battery in a sump pump every year. I didn’t like the fact that, if I wanted to go out, I’d have to get in my car and drive somewhere. I grew quickly weary of the upkeep and the little expenses. So when we moved to Toronto, we bought a condo. And in time I came to realize that everything I thought I would hate about apartment life – being downtown, being so close to your neighbors, not having a backyard – were things I truly loved about my new place.
Ever since I was a kid, my parents instilled in me the importance of home ownership (and the sad existence that awaited those unfortunate enough to have to settle for an apartment). My mother, like most Italians, viewed it as one of life’s greatest achievements, and loved the hell out of my homes, first the one in Montreal, then the one in Vancouver. Especially the one in Vancouver. Every few weeks, she asks me if I miss it, like it’s some ex-girlfriend I dated for 17 years. I tell her – honestly, no. I think the only thing I truly miss about that place is the basement gym (because, frankly, walking down two flights of stairs is MUCH easier than taking the elevator down to the third floor) but, aside from that, not really. But I honestly don’t think she believes me.
It’s like she didn’t believe me when I told her that, when traveling, I’d prefer to stay at a hotel rather than with friends or family and that the reason I don’t want to go to Italy is because I’ll be expected to stay with relatives. She found this altogether crazy. Given the choice, who wouldn’t rather stay with relatives? Or with their mom for the full thirteen day duration of their holiday visit?
I don’t know. Maybe someday I’ll change my mind. I’ll grow tired of socializing and being in the heart of it all and I’ll prefer to be in my own home, a little more isolated, with a basement and a backyard and a kitchen island for putting stuff down on when I get back from doing groceries. And I’ll look to tending a garden, replacing that sump pump battery, and hiring someone to fix and repaint the water damaged ceiling after the central air conditioning unit in the attic overflows.
But I doubt it.