Rendered Fat Content


Edward Hopper: Stairway at 48 rue de Lille, Paris (1906)
"I often find myself wandering around the place apparently lost …"

I consider myself more Denizen than citizen. I know myself to be a Denizen of the small hours, for instance. For me, this home seems most homey between two and six each morning. By evening, I can barely relate to the place. Through the afternoon, I'm ready to run errands, nap, or read, escapist activities, but in the early morning, I'm present and accountable.

It seems that our homes make us Denizens of them.
Some homes seem more hospitable in the evening, when they seem to enfold the family within them. Others, mornings, serve as launchpads serving breakfast. For me, this place comes most alive in the dead of the night. I wander around with the lights off, sometimes stumbling over an errant footstool. The cats couldn't care less about light and neither do I then. I want the space to feel indistinct. I seem to need to practice my spider senses. I might become most aware when I cannot see what's out there and I'm relying upon my muscle memory to guide me around. I often find myself wandering around the place apparently lost in the wee small hours.

Some become Denizens of bars or restaurants. I could see myself becoming a Denizen of our wonderful bread bakery. I could be a regular every morning. It's a curious place where I stand only about a 50/50 chance of being able to buy bread. I've asked, after waiting in line drooling, if I could please buy a fresh baguette like I've been watching them removing from the oven. I'm told that they're not allowed to sell them hot from the oven, that I should come back later. Returning later, I learn that they're all sold out and I should try tomorrow. I'll try tomorrow, anyway. In Paris, the bakeries post their baking times so their customers can line up for hot-from-the-oven loaves, and they do, and I have. With The Damned Pandemic, which continues raging here, it's harder to become a Denizen of anywhere except home.

I think that altogether too much fuss tends to be made about citizenship. I'm comfortable declaring myself a citizen of the world and leaving it at that. Nations no doubt serve some purpose, but they seem more determined to separate than bind us. We exclude some as if they were somewhat subhuman because they were born someplace else? This make no sense. Home seems more a matter of Denizenship than citizenship, anyway. A Denizen does what his heart insists. He gravitates toward hours and places that seem somehow special to him, as if made for him. He resonates with them. They're his. He's most himself, most productive, most happy when inhabiting that space and alienated when he's not. I think of myself as more Denizen than citizen.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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