Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Measuring Up

"But how can the characters in a play guess the plot? We are not the playwright, we are not the producer, we are not even the audience. We are on the stage. To play well the scenes in which we are "on" concerns us much more than to guess about the scenes that follow it."
~C.S. Lewis "The World's Last Night"


"So you're one of our top picks for tenants to rent the studio," the man said. He spoke slowly, so very slowly, not like my sister and I whose words sometime spill over onto each other they come out so quickly. This was my third meeting with him in as many days, and he had many good things to say, but it took him awhile to get them out. I just wanted to know the answer; whether I not I'd get to rent the cute studio on his property. But I dare not interrupt.

"When we have several good options for tenants; each having financial stability, good references, and are nice people, we then use a different way of comparing them. Others may choose their renters differently, but for us it seems the fairest way to make the best choice. We decide on a tenant by measuring their organization. "

[I thought "What? Oh no, are they wanting to see a current photo of my desk or closet? I mean I'm not so messy but I'm not a 'place for everything' person..."]

"We look at the organization of their life and how they spend their time. We look at the intention put into their schedule. "

[Organization of my life? Schedule? Do they want someone predictable? I'm screwed! I don't like schedules, and I am not prone to routine...I'm lucky if I get make-up on before I get to work, and I try not to be but I feel like I'm always five minutes late to everywhere. And has he picked up on the fact that I'm clueless about what I'll be doing or where I'll be in a year? It came out in conversation yesterday that I'd like to be out of real estate sooner than later, but as for what I'd move on to, I'd told him I had ideas but no decisions- does he think I'm a directionless flake?]

I gingerly asked, "Are you talking about someone's day-to-day schedule?"

"In a way..." he replied. "It's more about the consistent effort they are putting into the most important areas of life. If they are regular and organized and intentional about being a well-rounded and healthy person. There is one's work, time with friends and family, health, free time, etc. In our interactions and conversations with prospective tenants during the process we look for clues of their effort in all of these areas. It is so good to have balance and growth. We believe in that.

[I had no thoughts at this point really, just anticipation, and my self-doubt had started to slip away]

"You appear to keep your commitments, you're involved in many things, you like living in community, you see your friends regularly for things like the farmers' market, you go to soccer twice a week, you enjoy your job, you seem to know what you want. So, you have organization and intention in your life. More than our other top applicants. Therefore, you are at the top of our list."

I mustered something like, "That is very kind of you to say that, and its a very interesting way of looking at things." But inside I was thinking about how he'd come to this conclusion with just two 45 minute meetings with me, and that it was the kind of impression that I would have tried to leave if I'd known someone was searching for it, it was what I hoped to be seen as, but not often felt was true, especially lately. I do not consider myself an organized person in the more formal definition of the word. Lately life has felt like a game of Pick-Up Sticks, where each stick is being forcibly removed and I'm just hoping the haphazard structure doesn't fall apart. But if he wanted to define organized as being well-rounded, loyal to commitments, and intentional with people, then I wanted to be the picture next to the definition.

And for now, at least compared to the other applicants, I was. What a gift that he saw this in me.

I smiled and said quickly, before my voice could crack, "Thank you, so much. May I measure the studio? I want to see where I'll put my bed."

With that, a couple more sticks were added back carefully into my pile. I feel quite a bit more sturdy now.


Anna Quinlan said...

Congratulations! I drove by your new home the day you told me the address & it's quite the SB cutie. Here's to Coffee Bean firepit dates in our future!

Lesley Miller said...

congrats! I loved seeing you this weekend and love this blog's beautifully written and makes me even more thankful to be your friend. I so wish I could have spent more time with you this weekend. You're lovely Corinne and I miss you! That little old man made a very, very good choice.

emilykatz said...

seriously, that's awesome. I (too) love this post and this story; very telling of who you are.

Lisa said...

I was wondering after I read this, "So! did you get it?!" but then I read the comments. Apparently I missed something. Good story telling though. I picked up from facebook pics that you had to move out of that big house. Who are you with now and why did you guys move? I should probably email you. xo

Tara said...

That's great! Congrats! Can't wait to see some pics of the cute studio.

Yeah, I would have been worried when he first brought up organization, too (for me). My husband? "A place for everything..." is pretty much his mantra. It's great and maddening all at the same time.

*corinne said...

thanks friends!

i have the studio as of may 15th...which now that i think about it, is a week from today! wow. but we have the house until the 23rd, so i'll luckily have some overlap time to do the move-in.
you bet i'll post some pics of it.

tara, i think i'd feel the same about marrying someone like Adam, i'd mostly love such organization but sometimes feel like i can't keep up.

Patricia said...

Corinne, this is my favorite post yet! Lots of thoughts: your writing brought me right into that conversation; you gave a wonderful glimpse into who you are "inside"; you've got me intrigued by your landlord....what a neat guy! I'm so glad he recognized those qualities in you and that you'll have him as your neighbor. You've left me smiling. :-]