Saturday, August 14, 2010

In Transit.

I have always wanted an espresso machine.

Okay, let me be more precise - I have always wanted really shiny, pretty, professional espresso machine, with not only a milk steamer attachment but the ability to steam milk at the exact temperature of 185 degrees in 45 seconds. I don't want the stove-top percolator, a Steam machine, or a low-grade Krups home machine that can steam milk and pull a shot with a cheap plastic turning knob. And really, I don't want to pull a shot, I want to extract one. I want this machine to last 20 years, with proper maintenance and yearly calibration. I want a matching grinder, too - a large burr mill with specific settings to be able to grind extra fine, fine, medium, coarse, and very coarse. One that properly grinds the beans together as to not give off too much heat to taint the flavour, without the spinning blade that so violently bruises the beans.

This being said, it may be surprising to note that the biggest problem preventing me from purchasing such beautiful machinery is not the money. Don't get me wrong- the money is still a problem, as I don't regularly keep two thousand dollars lying around waiting to be spent (unless my couch knows something I don't). However, even if I did so conveniently have that amount cavalierly lounging and sighing restlessly in my wallet, the larger issue would be: "Where the hell am I going to keep this thing?" (I regret to tell you that the idea of giving this exorbitant amount to charity to help the needy ranks a few notches lower, and I do hope you forgive my disgusting human materialistic complexion).

I have often repeated in earlier posts that I wanted my 20th year on this earth to be one of self-discovery and world-discovery, and while I have dipped a small, shakey toe into that pool, I have begun to realize that this transition period will very likely last me at least the next ten years (and, really, hopefully longer). This transition period will hopefully take me through more places I have never travelled before, present challenges and obstacles never tackled before, allow me to run my tongue and teeth across plates and plates of new, exciting foods. And unfortunately for my caffeine addiction, these years will have no room for large, bulky, expensive new gadgets.

I have been in Toronto for four months. I often think about my apartment in Montreal. I think about my very small but inviting bed, the wooden shelves lined with my favourite novels and writers and movies, my coffee table weighed down heavily with reams of paper and notes and my laptop and scented candles, next to a couch upon which mountains of clothes and winter apparel sit comfortably. And don't forget my kitchen - a foot of counter space yet roomy enough for a pristine white hand-mixer, submersion blender, and various sizes and styles of whisks and spatulas. My iPod is palm-sized but it is full to the brim of music I have collected over the years.
I have been away from all of this (well, not the iPod) for four months, and I have survived quite comfortably without it.

I've spent years trying to make this space an extension of me, from the teal/black/white colour scheme to everything in between. I have manifested my personality and identity into a collection of objects, songs, and colours. And this all culminates to what end - when I leave this apartment behind at the end of my studies? What was all of this for?

It has dawned on me that I've done this all a little too prematurely. It's too early to splash "Jessica" all over a bachelor apartment and call the space my own - particularly if I'm merely renting it. And this is why I'm not ready for that sleek new espresso machine.

Maybe when I'm in my thirties or forties, I will have a house and husband (although a large part of me shudders at the thought), and room in my kitchen. But right now I have to remind myself that when one is in transition, the only space they can call their own is themselves, and it's important to take inventory of the small but important aspects of themselves as surely as do with their possessions. I'm not about to go all-out Francis of Assisi and sell all my worldly possessions and live a life of peace and solitary confinement, but I'd like to know that if I did, I would be able to stand on my own.

But for now, I will return to my apartment, bask in itself as myself for one year, and afterwards, leave it in quiet peace, escaping with only two suitcases and the hope that in the end I, too, will be repainted and refurnished.


John said...

I think some time needs to be taken to appreciate that you do not need an Illy espresso machine. The cost-benefit ratio is terrible.

Joseph said...