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Furnishing the Fortress of Solitude
Ever so often, we get fliers in the mailbox addressed to "Future Mountain View Homeowner". Having run the numbers, we may not actually be in this category -- 30 years of our current rent is less than the price of homes we'd be interested in, never mind interest and property taxes and so forth. (30 years of more typical rent is closer; our rent is in something under the 5th percentile for comparable apartments.) But the fliers make me wistful.

One particularly wist-inducing flier was for a bit of land down near the library which has, upon close inspection, three separate buildings -- one three-bedroom house, one two-bedroom house, and one thoroughly finished ex-garage. I have got some folks I would love to move in next door, so I know exactly what I'd do with an extra house if I had my druthers. (And entirely separate units are nicely flexible, too, in the event that drutherless reality interferes; much more pleasant to rent out a separate space than a couple of rooms.) But what to do with the ex-garage, I wondered, while carrying the flyer around from room to room with me to sigh at the nice pen-and-ink drawings of the bigger buildings. And then it came to me: it can be my Fortress of Solitude.

I do not, like Superman, have such good hearing that I need to be continents away from other people to not hear them holding up banks or falling into chasms or cussing at video games. But something with a little more insulating power than a typical interior wall is helpful. A couple of exterior walls and a dozen or two feet of intervening air would make an excellent sound baffle for me.

The next question, then, would be what to put in there. I shouldn't put my computer in a Fortress of Solitude -- it's better for me to have people around now and then when I'm working and so forth, and computer lazing time is mostly not very good introverting time. Games are all right, but internet stuff is all interacting with people really, so it doesn't work too well as recovery from Too Many People Disorder. So the Fortress of Solitude shouldn't be my office. It should be just for things that I'd rather do without anybody around at all.

So that means the furnishings go like this:

1. My piano.
2. A comfy chair.
3. Good task lighting.
4. A nice window or skylight.
5. A small cabinet for art supplies; some shelves for sheet music and a few particularly rereadable books.
6. A desk or table (ideally some kind of fold-out desk so it doesn't take up too much space most of the time but can be deployed as necessary for crafting).
7. A chair for the desk.

And nobody else will ever ever go in. If I wind up living with anybody who likes listening to my piano playing, I can open the window and they can sit on the lawn. Art is nicely transportable, so if I feel like working with other people around, I can just carry it in to the kitchen table like I do now.

I don't know that I'm ever going to wind up with a Fortress of Solitude -- we've got more important things to look for in a dwelling, and better things to do with most possible rooms. But it's a very nice place to have all tricked out in my imagination.

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There's a whole blog about approximately this idea: http://www.shedworking.co.uk/.

For that matter, there's also a Usenet newsgroup, though it makes Certain Other Groups look remarkably on-topic. I think it's sort of a whole culture, really.

(Also, I like listening to your piano-practicing, for what it's worth.)

I like listening to your piano-practicing

Then you will be pleased to learn that April is Piano Month. It looks like Tiny Art #2 is going to be done pretty early, so I am going to focus on the piano and not start Tiny Art #3 until May. (Well, I can start it before then if I want -- I expect I'll do a bit of research and maybe some sketching as soon as I've got #2 mailed off. But the piano gets priority for a month.)

Oh, I *lurve* this idea.

That's a great notion. :) I'd include something like an electric kettle or hot plate, and some teabags. Also - mug.
The idea of a deployable desk (go!) makes me smile.

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