Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Wrinkle in Chime

Dispatch from the Land O' Home Renovation....
All of us, homeowners and renters of every stripe, eventually fall prey to the seductive powers of the Feng Shui decorating book. Whether handed to us as a housewarming gift or peering at us alluringly from one of the center aisles at the book store, nobody is safe from their influence. Nobody.

I am still trying to unlock the secret to their special brand of consumer magic.

How often have you visited somebody's home for the first time and noticed that everything in their bedroom comes in PAIRS? There's a pair of ceramic doves or lions or some other animals engaged in a seductive vis-a-vis on their dresser, along with a darling twinset of coat hooks and a couple of prints on the wall depicting---I don't know...naked couples frolicking, or flocks of goslings cavorting by a lake. Something merry and group-oriented.

Then you say "Hey, are lions/doves your favorite animal?" And they laugh and reply "No, it's just good Feng Shui."

Behold the power.

Not that there's anything wrong with the idea of promoting romance via pairing. Pairing items can harmonize a space----or make it look suspiciously like a suite at the Best Western. Anyhow, I imagine that many people tend to locate "relationship" in the index of their Feng Shui decorating books when trouble is already a' brewin'. The point at which no manner of coupling animals or identical mug cozies have a sporting chance at turning things around.

That said, there's much to appreciate in Feng Shui books, mostly because the advice is just practical. For example, it makes sense not to have a mirror directly in front of you while you sleep, because you JUST MIGHT wake up at 3AM and momentarily think you're being attacked by a hideous bleary-eyed version of yourself. And I'll agree that colors certainly do have an impact on mood, even if only fleetingly. Trying to sleep soundly in a lemon yellow bedroom at a B&B convinced me of this truth long ago. If walls could sing, they would have been belting out "Dancing Queen," karaoke-style. After several adult beverages.

I also really like the idea of bringing pleasant ambient sounds into a home. For example, the murmur of a fountain or cheerful tinkle of chimes. Those wily Feng Shui experts may not agree on every point, but they all seem to reach consensus on this topic.

I purchased my first set of wind chimes from my local nursery. I came home, all excited that I was actively promoting a fresh flow of chi. I even re-purposed an old curtain rod to act as a staff from which I could dangle them. And what a beautiful chorus they were making...in the afternoon breeze my chimes were filling the air with lazy tones.

At 2AM on Monday, I found myself awake for no reason. Completely disoriented, I went through a mental checklist of possibilities: Fell asleep on book, no. Bladder, no. Left the burner on, no.

Then I heard them.

My chimes were clanging away like a diva chef in a kitchen full of dirty pots and pans. The breeze had given way to WIND. At first, as a good citizen of Feng Shui I merely turned my back to the window and told myself that wind chimes are soothing, dammit. But after 15 more minutes of painful denial, I found myself marching onto the balcony then smothering them into submission on my living room floor.

I hung them outside again the next day.

The cycle of pain continued for about a week, until I broke down and hung them inside and away from the door where they remain, reminding me of their presence only when the balcony door is open or an unusually tall guest arrives.

I suppose you could call that Feng Shui Lite?