India Choquette is a writer, a trainer, a teacher, a breakfast sandwich eater, a person in love with a person, and a FOrmer Vermonter living in New York City.

Dream Home

I feel young to already live in my dream home. Most people have to wait and save and take mortgages for a couple decades, and yet, here I am, at 27. It turns out it is much less dramatic than all that if your dream home is a studio apartment.

That’s a joke. A studio apartment in Manhattan is kind of a big deal, but adjusting expectations certainly helps foster happiness.

Here’s why it is my dream home (in no order of importance):

1.       Small enough to clean, but big enough for my books.

2.       Close to the train, close to work, close to the park, close to food and coffee.

3.       Free laundry in the basement.

4.       S. lives there.

S. and I can live together almost anywhere. We lived in an apartment that was so small that I could reach my arms out and lay my palms flat on opposite walls. That was the treehouse. The small part of my family that likes to go boating (or sailing? I don’t know much about it), used to say that if you could live on a boat with your significant other for a few weeks, you’d know you were a good match. S. and I lived in a boat sized apartment for almost a year and we survived.

Here’s how we survived:

1.       There was no space to move. So, if one person wanted to move/cook/eat, the other one had to be in bed.

2.       We went to bed early. Less time to feel claustrophobic.

3.       We didn’t have internet, so we wouldn’t stay up late streaming TV shows or answering emails. We just went to bed.

4.       Sleep = unconsciousness, and the less time conscious in the space, the better.

5.       Just go to bed immediately after entering.

The new apartment is still small. But it has a bright energy. There, it is possible for me to sit and write for hours and then still do the dishes afterward. I don’t know what this is—it might be related to Feng Shui. Or it might be related to the chromotherapy, that suspicious sounding manipulation where people paint schools blue and hospital rooms green in order to calm patients and students.

S. and I once went to a spa with a dozen of fancy saunas. There was a Himalayan salt sauna, a gold sauna (where apparently, just being the presence of gold did something to you). There was also a cold sauna, which I pointed out, was not a sauna. There were some other ones too, including a chromotherapy sauna, where you sat in little cubicles while a gelled light bathing you in a specific color.

Chromotherapy, according to the internet, is the science of using colors to adjust body vibrations to frequencies that result in health and harmony. So, it’s like a light massage? The spa had a plaque outside the door that detailed each of the colors and what they were supposed to do for you. There were the usual suspects—red stimulated passion and blue made you feel creative. Or something like that. But I was surprised that they had a white light. The white light was to enhance clarity and peace, according to them. That seemed more like a standard symbol association than any kind of real therapy. White is, after all, all the frequencies together. Technically, it is everything. It is the sun. It was also the lights in the hall of where we stood peering into the chromotherapy sauna. So basically, if you sat in the white cubicle, you were just sitting in a weirdly bright sauna. Which seems like a bad idea because, and I speak for myself, I do not look my best in a sauna. I would prefer a softer, gentler light, more like a seedy bar.

We chose the Himalayan salt sauna. It was the least stupid, but it was also empty. S. and I lay on the floor.

“Are you feeling the salt?” I asked. The ceiling, walls, and floor were lined with blocks of salt that looked like fancy pink marble. They lit behind the blocks, however, so you could see that they were semi-translucent.

S. laughed and squeezed my hand.

We lay there for a few minutes. It was nice to be warm and sleepy. I was okay with the hoax.

Then, two women entered. They were probably around my age, but they seemed older because they had large engagement rings on. They wanted to talk. And they did.

“Ugh,” one said. “You are so small.” She was also small.

“Here’s what you have to do. You have to run. An hour. Everyday.”

I like eavesdropping on fitness advice since it is my area of expertise. They were in there with us for twenty minutes, and their conversation ranged from getting their hair done before a networking event (they only discussed how they would dress) and how fat they were. That was it. I wanted to laugh, but I could tell S. wanted to scream.

Then they started doing ab exercises. In the sauna. Given their obsession with weight, it shouldn’t have surprised me.  I didn’t really get to look at them because I was trying to appear zen and listen to their conversation at the same time.

They left the sauna before us. We were able to laugh after. They were almost cartoon characters of the kind of women feminism is trying to liberate. There’s that test for films, the XX test, that, in order to pass, there has to be at least one conversation between two female characters that does not discuss a man. I feel like, in real life, you could also test how many female conversations are about their bodies, how much they hate their bodies, and/or what they can do to make their bodies better.

I looked up the purpose of “white” in chromotherapy. The fancier places offering chromotherapy didn’t call it “white,” they called it crystal. I found an inspirational chromotherapy poster where Crystal was described as the following: “Rare Life Color. Clear auras, known as ‘aura chameleons,’ will change colors to match the people they are connecting with at the time. They then take on the characteristics, behavior patterns, emotions and thoughts of the aura.”

This must be why the new apartment is such a productive space. The white walls—curtesy of our management company and super, Al—create a crystal environment where my own auras are matched and reflected onto myself. It is my dream home.

Pros and Cons of Being Short