Thursday, February 15, 2007

Loft At First Sight

I never saw a Loft in person until I relocated to Chicago 12 years ago. Coming from the more traditional housing stock of the East Coast, the name alone (for me, at least......Loft...ahhhh) denoted not only the promise of a unique and hiply appointed dwelling space but a heightened state of mental being. Only the coolest of cool people lived in Lofts, I was certain. A separate breed--Loft people, more than likely. Magazine people, for sure.

And speaking of self-perception, I dared not peek too closely in the mirror back in that first blustery winter, nor into the passing panes of storefront glass as I briskly traversed the Chicago sidewalks searching for that perfect spot to hang my Kangol. I needed to drop 20 pounds quickly (by the following weekend preferrably) if I planned on choosing a Loft for my new home/lifestyle/image. Many people lose weight after a divorce but that wasn't the case with me--- and while there are many, many cool, portly people, I just wasn't one of them. Contrary to what they say on television, I look better when I'm starving to death. (But they are correct when they say that winter clothing adds an extra forty pounds in front of the camera.)

As I stared off into the condoscape of Lake Shore Drive I envisioned my future Chicago abode to be a mixture of a Fraiser Crane Seattle soundstage and Bud Fox's Wall Street Manhattan makeover (post Daryl Hannah redo after Gordon Gecko made him rich). At least half of the established Seven Deadly Sins would surely play an integral part in this new lifestyle of mine. My Housing Dream (Wish) List read as follows...(ps...I wasn't a Realtor yet):
  • Parking Spot in living room (ala the 1970's Vegas, starring Robert Urich in a red vintage Thunderbird)

  • View of the Lake (come to find out, this generally can't occur with above mentioned wish at the below mentioned pricepoint)

  • Chef's Kitchen with concrete floors/countertops and a restaurant quality refrigerator for my take-out menus (I ordered most meals out in those days)

  • Concrete columns, timber beams, and glass block everywhere

  • Bathroom in the middle

  • One sofa, one pool table, one bed, one giant media center. One fork, one spoon...

  • Private terrace with sauna and a tree

  • Under $200,000...

Well, needless to say... there was no mad rush to drop the extra divorce weight. I apparently wasn't wealthy enough to be one of the cool Loft people. And as one impatient, downtown Realtor was quick to point out (and I use his quote myself whenever the moment calls for it),... "Face it. You can't even get a really good Ferrari for $200,000..."

I personally don't believe this, though. There is an abundance of condominiums in and around downtown Chicago at the $200,000 pricepoint... 725 to be exact as of this writing. I just don't think any of them have a sauna and a tree on the terrace (although many of them do have a view of the Lake).

I never did buy a Loft and I'm fairly certain now that I never will---my wife won't let me. She'd never go for a bathroom in the middle of anything unless it was a Four Seasons. And although my present pricepoint is a multitude of what I previously stated, my only present sinning is of the least deadly variety. I still love the Loft, though. It's just a shame we couldn't work things out between us. The timing was all wrong. The stars and Moon, or vice versa, were all out of alignment. And although it wasn't 'meant to be' for me, I live vicariously through the people I sell them to. (dangling preposition, I know)

I ended up renting a Studio Apartment with a view of the Lake back in 1995. I soon thereafter upgraded to a One-Bedroom in the same building on a higher floor before eventually changing neighborhoods completely and opting for a series of Turn of the Century, Post Fire/Cow/War vintage Flats throughout the northern sections of the city. I now reside, quite happily mind you, in a sensible Lincoln Park Duplex with outdoor parking, a fully stocked pantry, double door refrigerator, and bathrooms in all the traditional places--I just don't look too closely into any of the mirrors.

photo by baanyindee

Geno Petro

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