Every so often, Dana will ask me why I prefer to keep the bedroom door closed while I’m in it, whether or not I am sleeping.
Having never really reflected on that particular quirk, my response is just typically, “Because I do.”
Waking up at 2am after a late night nap, I had the motivation to put away some laundry. After a bathroom pitstop, I passed by the Cowboy Room where Dana was sleeping, turned off the light, and went back into the bedroom where I immediately closed the door before turning on the light… so as not to wake Dana by a sudden shift of environment that she may have subconsciously noticed a few feet away. Of course, knowing Dana, that wouldn’t have made the slightest difference, but a subtle shift of a light turning on where there wasn’t one before could be enough to wake me, so, y’know, just being considerate.
Aha! Then I remembered laying on the couch in the living room a few days ago while reading a book. I don’t typically like being in a room where the windows are open, but there’s something comfortable about the sun shining in while I’m reading. That probably stems from when I was younger and tended to read in the “sunroom” of the house I grew up in.
The “sunroom” was off to the left of the front door and jutted out just a wee bit of the rectangular footprint of that bungalow. It had windowed french doors separating it from the living room and main thoroughfare of the house. Shutters lined the little bit of the east wall where the room jutted out of the footprint, south, and west walls of the room. It let it a lot of sun.
The room didn’t house all that much. A closet where my mother kept some of her clothes, a couch, the stereo system and a bookshelf of record albums. Many Saturday afternoons and Sundays I lounged in that room reading. Sometimes on the couch. Sometimes against the couch. Sometimes on the floor.
I could close the doors to be sequestered away but not disconnected (because of the windowed French doors) from whatever my parents were doing, and the ample sunlight gave the room a “clean” feeling. At times it was also the only room in the house that was air conditioned, so that might have made a difference too.
That brings me back to laying on the couch of my current living room with the sun shining in. It didn’t quite feel right. When I reflected about why that might be (besides the obvious differences of age and co-habitants), I realized it was the open floor plan of this house I’m living in.
I moved into this house when I was 21. I moved out when I was almost 29. I somewhat moved back in when I was 41 and completely back in at 43. In all that time I never really liked this house. It’s not that it’s a bad house. I just liked the arrangement I had at the previous house between the ages of 20 and 21. So, part of the dislike comes from the unwanted change over twenty years ago. The other part is the open floor plan. I’ve never really been able to put my finger on why an open floor plan bothers me, but I think I’ve come to understand it better in the past week.
Micro-environments. I like rooms that can be a different environment both decoratively and fundamentally. An open floor plan doesn’t allow for that as well. The environment of the kitchen seeps into the family room. There’s no change of temperature or air quality between the living room, dining area, kitchen, hallway, or family room. The smells aren’t different. The ambient sound is similar.
For a person who experiences most of the world from inside his head, reading a book is not incredibly different whether I’m in living room or kitchen. The ambient distractions are the same. That’s why I like rooms. Simply shutting a door can create a completely different environment from one that is just on the other side.
I suppose that’s why I prefer to have the door shut in the bedroom. It’s a place I can create a micro-environment that is slightly different from the rest of the house.