The Midnight Train Goin’ Anywhere

a confusing array of kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls. Who could decide? They are all fine.

Kitchens. Baths. Mudrooms. Decks. Master suites. Remodels. Some people are all about the process of remaking a home into theirs: the discovery, the design, the development. Me? I’m about the Done.

The thought of picking out knobs for cabinets, looking for the perfect granite vein, comparing backsplash options, selecting faucet and matching vanity lights? Shoot me now, in the head.

It’s not that I don’t care. I want a good remodel. I want to respect the bones of our great old house. I definitely have an aesthetic, but extreme nuance is uninteresting and somewhat unfathomable to me. Shades of taupe? Notched or twisted pull? I really don’t care. Does it work? Is it sturdy? Does it look okay? Great! Done and done.

I’m simple. My goal is to be able to cook a good dinner and for my guests to be able to turn on the light in the bathroom. Right now it’s a trick. The switch is on the outside wall. Inside would be a huge win. Another criteria is that nobody gets electrocuted. If someone gives me a reasonable fixture option, I’ll say yes. I care about completion and operation.

A friend was talking about a partner who wants to completely understand the process. He’s researching the natural light from multiple sources and how they will blend and create a perfect reading spot. He explores design with the fervor of a securities attorney unraveling the complex law–in this case laws of nature, laws of composition, and even, perhaps, those of humanity. The journey is made of hundreds, if not thousands, of turns that will determine the future of their lives.

Me, I’ll take the average of those options and plot a way forward. I’m not so deep.

I’m not being flip. Okay a little flip, but I don’t think he’s wrong. I’ll stipulate that there can be meaning in all those options. I personally can’t care about most of them. It’s why I only drove back to Detroit twice in decades. I can’t stand to drive eleven hours–twenty-two round trip–when I can fly in seventy minutes. I care about being there not getting there.

“Wait, Doc!” you say. “Look out the window will you?”

And to you I say, “have you ever driven on the Ohio Turnpike? Nothing to see here. Move along.” Yes, I have patience issues. I want to be there more than get there.

People have their things. People really enjoy the art and craft of serial-remodeling, either the same house or flipping houses. People like to shop shop shop for the best antique or best bargain or best find. People tinker with their cars inside and out, sometimes spending more time on the detailing than on driving.

I’m not immune. I would rather start a meal from scratch–selecting, washing, cutting and roasting or sautéeing vegetables; whisking the mustard into the oil and lemon juice for a vinaigrette; flipping a steak continuously in a red hot cast iron skillet and basting it with butter. Some call me crazed to perform cooking feats at the end of a workday. But this journey, from kitchen to table, is as important to me as the destination, from fork to lips.

I don’t know why some journeys have meaning to some and not to others. Why the selection of a pecan over a walnut floor stain defines peace for one person and elicits indifference in another? Why having flowers in my house is important to me, but arranging them is not?

When I was thinking about being a destination person and not a journey person, I realized that I was wrong. We are all on our own meta-journey that is made up of mini-journeys and side destinations along the way.  This greatest journey has a destination, too. The destination none of us will avoid, but most of us are not anxious to see.

I’m working on enjoying my overall journey on my own path until it’s natural end. There’s nothing else.

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