Brown Socks with Orange Tassels

When I was growing up, my babysitter was a stay-at-home mom who had two children - a girl and a boy. My brother, sister and I would go to her house after school for a snack and playtime, and then our mom would come and pick us up. I remember that the dad worked for the Frito-Lay company and their family always seemed to have Cheetos in the house.  My baggies of Wheat-Thins felt so subpar in comparison.

The little girl was maybe two years older than me, but it wasn't so much that we couldn't play house together or make cookies, or imagine up potions in her back yard. We'd spend entire afternoons watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks, right after her mom finished up the after-lunch episode of All My Children, both of us squishing into their brown velour 1970's armchair.

Once a week, right around the time my mom would come to get me, the little girl would prepare for her Brownie troop meetings. Her mom was the leader of the troop and hosted the meetings in her living room. It would have made sense for me to join in all the Brownie fun since I was already there - I know my mom asked me if I wanted to do it more than once, but every time, I refused outright:

Not all the crafts, good deeds or trail-mix snacks in the world would convince me to wear a pair of brown socks with orange tassels. I had principles people. Principles. 

At least about appearance, that is.


I guess I haven't changed much. 

Yesterday, Copain and I visited an apartment that might as well be brown socks and orange tassels. It's an ugly 8-floor piece of cement from 1970, with orange-tinted window guards. The cement is beige, but it might as well be brown. It's affreux. Awful.

And maybe it's my past issues with brown socks and orange tassels that is making this decision one of the hardest EVER.  See, the inside of the apartment is quite nice - it's clean and well-maintained (no moldy smell when you walk inside, like so many 19th century buildings). There is an elevator that can fit FOUR people. There is a PARKING SPOT, a basement, and 70 square meters to live in. SEVENTY! It is GIANT. There is a view of Père Lachaise cemetery and you can even see the Eiffel Tower out the bedroom windows if you look to the left. There are CLOSETS people - CLOSETS! 

But it is brown with orange tassels. There is absolutely no charm whatsoever.

The inside needs re-doing too since it's still stuck in 1975, lived in by a smoker with cats. We would modernize the entire thing and make it a real, family-size apartment, so once inside, it would feel great. But in a city of beautiful Haussmannian buildings, we would have the eye-sore. 

As an American, part of the draw of Paris is the charm. The intricate window rails, the wooden staircases, the massive doors that open onto cobble-stoned courtyards. I never thought that we would even be able to afford an apartment in such a great city. But now that we can, I hate to have to choose between beauty and functionality.

If you can't have both, what's more important - space? or charm? The inside or the outside? 

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