Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Floor

Japanese architectural tradition distinguishes between "people of the floor" and those without one. The floor is a piece of furniture.Tending to the floor is housekeeping bedrock. Laurence Van Der Post's "A Story Like The Wind" has an enchanting and, to one who kept house during the fulminating days of Seventies feminism, deeply heartening scene in which a young !Kung woman details the floor of a cave that is sheltering her and three companions. My archaeological source tells me that keeping sharp things off the floor is the oldest, most fundamental principle of good shelter-keeping.

I've been experimenting with sleeping on the floor, using a luxury self-inflating air mattress to cushion the process. A Pilates instructor advised her class that one's ability to get up off the floor is a reliable indicator of prospective life span. I reasoned that getting up off the floor at least once in an ordinary day would be a good way to keep track of my fitness.

This particular floor is very clean, because we take our street shoes off in the front hall. The floor is also quite comfortable, because the wool rug covers an electric heat mat, ideal for basking in chilly Seattle weather. It's ideal for unwinding kinks from the back, and just hard enough without the mattress to effect an auto-massage. After a few mid-day minutes on the floor, my bod begins to do Pilates on its own.

On a block where eighty square feet cost more than the monthly mortgage of a well-designed new house in Burien several years ago, I have grown to appreciate every bit of space at my disposal. Shifting to the high-tech version of a futon has transformed the sleeping room into a daytime all-purpose resource. Because I separate sleep and dressing functions, the minuscule 1890 closet is nearly empty, and it's trivial to stow bedding after I get going in the morning.

The simple volume of the place is calming. My core strength is improving, flexibility is automatic, and the change has done wonders for my posture -30-


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