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Cozy Mount Scott
The Metaphysical Igloo Office of a Kept Hoodrat, Portland, Oregon: 11/5/23
© 2023 James LaFond
JUN/10/24
I have been enjoined not to write of life with my Land Lady and her family, kind of like Metacomet not trusting an English illustrator to capture his image for fear of some juju…
The room, the actual space, that I share with HER is 12 by 12 feet, with an 8 foot ceiling.
I sit with my back to a window, back propped by two pillows, another under my knees, a fourth on the lap and under this computer.
The curtain across the window is a heavy, linen, beige drapery. Before it is hung a dream catcher, above my head, which I trust as good luck and she seems to regard as a ward against my WHITE sorcery. This dream catcher is made of twine, has within its thick outer chord, oyster, clam and scallop shells, is bisected by driftwood.
Oh, the sweet little dame has brought me a thermos coffee cup of Jim Beam coffee, which her son and I enjoy. I am kept, but in grand fashion, by a woman who believes in serving her man, something I am not used to at all. I place it to my right on a heavy, dark-stained, four-drawer dresser. I have been given two drawers, the middle ones next to the wall and the pillow on my side of the double bed.
There is 18 inches between the bed and those two drawers. My spare belt is hung from the bottom two handles. My dirty clothes are dropped between the bed frame and the bottom drawer, which has her spare purses in it.
A 6 part wooden frame, which admits 6 canvas storage squares sits atop the dresser against the corner to my right. Next to the window is her Big Foot hat I use for writing and two Seattle Seahawks hard hats. My flash light and coffee mug are before the framed Elvis illustration. Atop the frame of foot-deep shelf are Alaskan wicker baskets heaped with stuffed Eskimo children and painted oyster shells.
Before that, above her tiny, halfling dame work desk, is a wire mesh frame stationary stand, with pens, pencils, scissors, an orchid, fronted by a jewelry box carved in the likeness of two polar bears getting drunk…
The coffee is excellent made in a perculator…
Down to the right is that tiny foldout desk, her padded folding metal chair, her work and personal laptop, a trash can underneath, and a three level black plastic tube shelf with knitting stuff, bills and papers, topped with a wicker basket and a painting of a horse. The wall is decorated with an orca painting, her son’s tribal school diploma and a Seattle Seahawks calendar.
The bedspread is an old quilt decorated with images of feathers, as are the matching pillow cases. The bed is firm.
At the foot of the bed is a dry-walled in beam that splits the room in two. To the right, behind her tiny work station, is a six foot clothes hanger rod, packed with women’s shirts and jackets and coats. Above that are two shelves for books, hats, bed spreads and quilts, the latter neatly vacuum sealed. Beneath the hung clothes are storage totes and a two-drawer cabinet, atop which cartons of tribal cigarettes are stores.
She does not smoke in the room, has a fan to keep it fresh, and usually closes the door..
There are snow globes, tiny wicker baskets and tribal water thermos’ about.
I can hear the wind behind me beyond the curtain and window, the patter of rain too.
It is the morning that clocks went backward as our masters maintain their illusory stranglehold on Time.
To the left of the pillar, hung with an eagle feather dream catcher, which admits 18 inches between bed for passage, is a light steel tube unit, 2 feet high, that has a tilt out laundry basket, above which is a storage shelf of 6 by 14 by 12. That shelf has a black linen box decorated with colorful arrows. The top has a hat stand, atop of which rests a tribal work hat with badge—it just occurred to me that I’m sharing a bed with a Fed.
Above this practical unit are the light switch and a pin board for earrings and necklaces, mostly pretty Alaskan patterns, including an oyster shell arrowhead necklas.
A second jewelry board adorns the foot-deep wall facing left, which is the side of the pillar box, which seems to have been a 4 by 4.
Above the pin board with earrings is a leather hat box worked with a distinctive tribal eagle pattern I am not free to name. That space, between pillar and door, is 20 inches.
The light, wood grain panel door is hung with an aluminum coat rack on this the inside, for six jackets, one being this Yetis’ only jacket. The outside is hung for coats and hats.
To the left of the door, along that 12 foot wall, heading back towards me—is a cute little thing bent over pulling clothes out of her dresser…
Yes, my crutches, hopefully forever, lean behind that door against the off white wall.
Two more earring boards hang against that wall above a light, aluminum pipe and canvas shoe and slipper rack, which holds 25 pair.
Her dark stained wood dresser has four foot-wide drawers at the top and four 2-foot drawers underneath.
Above this is a TV screen, necklace, bracelet and earring stands, a 4 drawer red wood jewelry box, a smaller three drawer affair atop, with makeup mirror. Above all this is a painting of the Lone Ranger in a Studabaker conferring with Tonto on an Indian motorcycle.
Behind to the right are family pictures next to her side of the bed. This is an extended family house, a small one. I am conscious that my Land Lady has very little personal space for her and her lady things, and am very grateful that she is sharing it.
She is dressed. It is Sunday morning and we must meet her friends and husbands for breakfast.
Last night her son and I played cards until 1:20 AM, sober: cribbage and two-handed Spades.
Every personal belonging this woman owns is crowded tastefully into this room she lets me use for sleep and writing.
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