Boring McBoreFace

Looking into the newly rehabbed house a few blocks from mine, when they try and sell these joints, the ensure there is nothing of offense, or interest.

I went out today on a recon mission. I was investigating floors. I will tell you why in a different post*, but for now, know that I was scrounging for facts.

There were two homes for sale a few blocks from me that had Sunday open houses. They’re in two different directions, one east and one south.

The Sunday open house. You know, when the salesperson lights scented candles and has non-offensive furniture and decor staged in order to entice strangers who are traipsing through. Just in case somebody might put in a bid on the property. Except all the best ones go really fast.

To be honest, I think that it’s really a ploy to get contact info for the realtor’s list. Fear not, Loyal Reader, I got away. I didn’t sign in. I am still anonymous. They’ll never take me alive!

Anyway, both were rehabbed homes. One was a 1940’s house that was gutted and then reconfigured with a modern, open floor plan. The other was a hundred-year old colonial that was restored rather than taken down to the studs and phoenixed.

The original floors were replaced in both properties. And in both properties the flooring results were surprisingly unattractive–especially the 40’s house which is on the market for a very ambitious (ridiculous) price. You’d think with the Sub-zero fridge and Wolf range top, wall oven and microwave they would have done more with the floors.

I mean they were shiny and all smooth and whatnot, but you wouldn’t say that they were beautiful. They were definitely something you’d walk on, but so would linoleum or a packed dirt floor.

The thing about both of these homes—at least to me–is that they were devoid of character. They had no stank. No sense of where they were–and no sense of a future. It’s likely good, because the buyers can create their own future on these blank canvases.

I took a few photos to capture the emptiness of the spaces. It was telling, at least to me, that every single filter I applied–all the ones on Instagram, the dozens on Pic Stitch and the artful ones on Prisma–every one of the filters added more depth than the room held in real life. All of the filters gave more space, more dimension, sharper edges and more contrast  than I saw walking through the actual rooms.

It all seemed too generic and too fresh by half, too much of someone else’s idea I didn’t want to be there. My house already has a self. I don’t want to lobotomize it.

* I got some stuff I need to process before I write about this.

Is That It?

Generic ketchup and roll of papertowels at the most nondescript restaurant.

It’d be hard to imagine a more generic joint. More generic than a hospital waiting room. More generic than a 70’s bus station. More generic than an underfunded rural elementary school. More generic than hundreds of cookie cutter houses along tracks of a former dairy farm.

The color palette is unremarkable. The tables are a blond shellacked wood. The red brown chairs look like they were purchased at a hotel overstock sale. The walls are a yellowy cream. The lighting does nothing to enhance the color. It is neither bright nor dull. There is a maroon border around the wall. It’s almost the same color as the chairs. Almost. Must be a standard issue. No color matching.

Even more generic are the walls. There is nothing on them. No posters. No velvet paintings. No year at a glance calendars. No neon. No Christmas lights. No tchotchkes. Not even an official occupancy sign. There was, however, a fire alarm. A generic one.

There’s a shellacked table that’s pulled up next to the counter. It has a row of tabasco bottles, a row of yellow mustard bottles and a row of ketchup bottles. There is also a pile of napkins. No napkin holder, just a pile of napkins. There is a plain sign with the menu. It’s not even hung. It sits on top of the shelacked table next to the counter and leans on the yellowy cream wall. On the other side of the counter is a soda fridge. Like at 7-11. Or at a 7-11 knock off.

Oh, and that counter? It is more like a small bar in someone’s basement. It’s maybe four feet long with a cash register. It’s all yellowy cream colored. It disappears into the walls. If there wasn’t a very big man in a black shirt behind it, you likely would not see it. You’d just think a cash register was levitating.

And another thing, this is a hamburger shoppe. They sell hamburgers and fries and shakes (and half liter sodas from the self-serve cooler). But it doesn’t smell like meat or grease or grill or onions. It really doesn’t emit any smells of food or of cooking. It smells of nothing. Do they even cook here?

Maybe I should have left, but I decided to get a burger. To see if this place was real or if it was like the fake town set up for the bad guys to raid in Blazing Saddles. I picked a soda out of the cooler, paid my money, took my number and sat down in front of the window at the generic table with a generic roll of plain white paper towels and a bottle of ketchup.

The big man in the black shirt brought out my hamburger in his hand. It was in a nondescript gray–or is that an ugly khaki?–clamshell box that was good for composting. I thought that maybe this same guy also cooked the food.

Anyway, the moment of truth came as I opened the box to see a good looking sandwich. The bottom bun was soaked and soggy from the beef juices. And the burger itself tasted fine. Not amazing, but a few steps above generic. But evaluating the entire experience, and adding the $7.99 before tax for the burger to the calculations (I am not including the soda price), I’m left without anything to draw me back.

In fact, the memory is becoming less clear, duller and fading. I hope that I remember to remember that this place isn’t memorable. But I bet that I’ll forget and stumble back into this unremarkable scene.