Friday, January 22, 2010

Boldly going...somewhere...

This morning I went to check out some things at my friend Sara's house that she's been looking at getting fixed. The last thing I took a look at for her was a spigot on the back of her house, which was oozing enough that it might make a mess of her water bill. I insisted on her letting me fix it before I left. Much to my delight, this meant I got to crawl into yet another undiscovered universe off the beaten path.

Boldly going where no man has gone before...where most would probably not want to go:

One of the "fun" things about being handygraham is that I get to venture into little pockets of the world that exist unbeknownst to the general populace. I joke about it, but I really do enjoy it.

When I was in elementary school, I used to read Beverly Cleary books, sports books, and other pretty down-to-earth stories. By the time I got to middle school, I'd picked up so many extra-curricular activities that I ran out of time for reading. Much to my surprise, when I got to college, I found myself reading (and REALLY enjoying) the nerdy fantasy books that I used to make fun of my buddies for reading. These are my favorite types of books and also my favorite types of movies now.

There's just something endearing about these fantasy realms that makes me really want to visit them...and I'm sad I'll never actually be able to. I can't tell you how many times I've thought I'd love to visit Hogwarts, journey from Hobbiton to the House of Elrond to Lothlorien to Gondor, take a spin through the floating mountains of Pandora, maybe make the jump to hyperspace with Han Solo & Chewbacca. Alas, so many realms, so little time.

Since I can't actually visit these places, I have to settle for exploring the lesser-known realms of our my profession, that means crawl spaces and attics. I've spent hours in these atmospheres. Crawl spaces are usually dirty places into which most people don't even want to look, let alone hang out. I like them because they're like my only little space in the world where I know nobody will bother me - where there are no distractions. There's something peaceful about them, and I can think.

A few months back, I got to install an attic stair into an attic in a 90-year-old house. Nobody had been up there since it was built - in fact, I had to cut/make/frame the opening for the about an adventure. As I began to make the breach in the ceiling, I couldn't help but imagine crawling up through that portal for the first time and vanishing into the future/past/parallel universe/Narnia/the Room of Requirement. Well, it was just an attic, but it was still my discovery, and it was beautiful.

About a year ago, I did some work at a rather large house. The crawlspace was so deep at some spots that the ladder wouldn't reach the house above it. It was so long that the foundation blocked the view of the whole space. I saw myself swinging across the abyss on Indiana Jones' whip, grabbing the hidden treasure, then swinging back out before the house caved in on me. I surely lost myself down there for a good twenty minutes just imagining the explorations and possibilities. (Then I had to deduct that time from the bill...sadly, I don't get paid to daydream.)

Who doesn't dream, when they're younger, that they can pull on a certain book on the shelf and open a door to a magical realm...or at least a secret laboratory. I get these thoughts EVERY time I am up in an attic with easily hidden and unused space. I did some work at some friends' house last summer. It was a relatively new house, but not without secret compartments. For the size of their house, both their attic and basement/crawlspace were vast. I immediately began imagining secret clubhouses, hidden chambers, and the infamous ninja training room. I wondered about the best way to conceal such secret entrances.

I hope when I have kids that I still have the imagination to appreciate these possibilities for my kids' sakes...and maybe for mine too.

1 comment:

  1. Graham - I love reading your blog. Your writing is so "you." :)