I have moved to London. Specifically, to East London. Specifically, to Zone 2 and a five-minute walk to a Central Line tube station. Specifically, to a very, very tiny room with a very high price tag.
It’s a bargain really, a nice room with a good view. Friendly housemates, big kitchen, bills included. Every person from home who finds out my monthly rent bill looks at me askance; every Londoner pats me on the back. This is a big topic in London: where you might discuss weather with any other Briton the conversation falls to TFL zone and cost among Londoners. The weekly/monthly debate would be on Newsnight if it were a programme hosted by twenty-something Londoners.
I’ve never lived in a small room before. I’m used to big rooms with lots of clutter everywhere. Seating options. A desk. In one room once even a sofa. I could exercise in bedrooms of the past, I could have a friend to stay because there was room on the floor for a sleeping bag.
This new room: a bed, a lot of storage space built into the walls, and that is it. There’s barely room to walk to the bed. This may sound like a negative, but I don’t think it is, because what I’ve discovered is that you adapt to a small space very quickly.
The disclaimer at this stage is that I live in a shared house, so the landing, hallway and kitchen are all mine to pace in to my heart’s content, as is the front garden. I don’t think I would ‘adapt’ so quickly to an entire living space being tiny. But the room, just the room: it’s fine.
You become much more aware of your body and how much space it needs. By nature, I like to flail, I am a flailer. It’s not something I love, but I have got used to it. In the big room of the past, I would casually knock into doors, desks, bedframes, pillar to post, like a merrily angular pinball. This new room, I have not bumped into anything yet. Possibly because there is nothing to bump into.
I don’t have many possessions here either – I can only furnish it one bulging suitcase at a time. So my clutter is vastly decreased. Everything is carefully selected, nothing is unnecessary. I haven’t purchased an ornamental rabbit to decorate this room yet. That must be a record for me.
It’s starting to feel quite homely.
I’ll report back next week, when I’ve binged on ornamental rabbits and can no longer access the bed or any of the storage because they fill it all.