On behalf of the one-room apartment

I'M a one-room person. But it has nothing to do with being old-fashioned. It happened by default. Big families like mine try to buy big houses, which, once filled, somehow get to feeling rather small. But back then, even though our houses were densely populated, there were plenty of corners into which a child could escape unnoticed. So I grew up thinking that having a dining room, kitchen, living room, playroom, and basement, in addition to my own bedroom, was normal. In fact, I didn't know it could be any other way.

And then I went to college. My tiny bedroom and living room, shared with three other women, had to serve as a gym, kitchen, library, and guest room. During parties, there was standing-room-only. I found out how tight it really was when I tried to rearrange the furniture late one night, and had to call for help when I found myself imprisoned by a ton of desk and bed.

I was grateful for my college education, however, which prepared me for my first postgraduate apartment. Diploma in hand, I had to figure out how I was going to fit all my earthly belongings into one room, a broom closet, and a kitchen the size of my parents' pantry. This took on added creative dimensions when my sister moved in, followed by all her earthly possessions. Needless to say, we brought new meaning to the phrase ``You can't take it with you.''

WHILE eating, sleeping, playing, and working in one room keeps life simple, it has obvious drawbacks. Especially when you have half a room to do it in. The best thing is, we are pretty self-sufficient, especially when it comes to moving. But the worst repercussion has been rather bizarre and unexpected. I've forgotten how to use doors. And I've become a one-room person.

Now that I've moved into a two-room apartment I'm having great difficulty adjusting to such unaccustomed ``spaciousness.'' More often than not, I forget that the other room is there, and find myself scuffling between the kitchen and my bedroom, unable to extend my travels to include the other area.

This problem extends to other situations as well. Deciding where to go once I get inside libraries or museums, even my parents' house, causes confusion.

Perhaps a sense of guilt won't allow me to accept the practicality of having extra room. But having my living space slowly whittled down until it resembles a glorified shoe box, I've learned to be happy 'most anywhere. And utterly inexplicable is the fact that I've become willing to work long hours just to pay for such quarters.

But I'm not complaining. In fact, I'm almost grateful. After all, at the rate I'm going, I'll never live in a large apartment, house, or museum. Besides, my two pieces of furniture would look lonely in any room larger than a bathroom. So for now, I'll just have to force myself to adapt to bigger surroundings. And when I go into museums, I'll remember to pick up a map.

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