Friday, January 19, 2007

Naming Your Rooms

191 Naming Your Rooms

Even if you live in just one room, you still need to call it something, right? Chances are you can get away with “my place…” or “crib” or “house,” or somesuch.

But what about if you have more than one?

What do you call the part that’s below ground? Some people call it the basement. But that has a tacky feel to it. You get WATER in your basement. Your furnace is situated there. If you’re a department store, “basement” is the short version of “bargain basement,” where you dump all the junk you couldn’t sell on the regular floors.

Come to think of it, you probably dump a lot of stuff in your basement, too. Old boxes, bags, furniture you no longer can use, lamps, broken appliances. Junk.

But you don’t do that to your CELLAR!. No. You keep WINE in your cellar. Macy’s used to have a bargain basement, called “Macy’s Basement.” It was filled with, well, all the junk they couldn’t sell upstairs.

They don’t have that, anymore. Now, it’s a CELLAR, and it’s filled with gourmet cooking utensils and stylish tableware and the like. In fact, even in their stores with nothing below ground, they still have a cellar. It’s on the main floor – or the only floor. But it has its own look and feel and its own typograpy.

Same room, different meaning.

So what about the other rooms in your house? Is that room with your TV a DEN, where you can slip away from everyone else for a little privacy and get some work done; maybe have a quiet cocktail in the evening? Or is it a FAMILY ROOM, where everyone comes and goes as he pleases and no one – or everyone – has a sense of ownership.

Maybe you have a foyer. Or is it a foy-YAY? Depends on how you think of it. (Vase, Vahs, tomayto, toMAHtoh.)

Is there something in your house called a “dressing room?” What do you do in it?

How about a “half bath?” Is that somewhere that’s so small, you can only bathe half of yourself? Or is it a gen-u-ine British style water closet?

We do more in the bathroom than bathe.

Most dens would escape notice of den-dwelling animals, like lions.

The names we use denote concepts, usually in need of fuller development. For example, do you live in the living room? What do you do in the hall, then, die?

Many of us now have what we call “computer rooms.” Some have “video game rooms.” These have not yet been around long enough to have fictionalized names like “sun room” or “breakfast room.” And they may never. A sewing room has always been a sewing room (why aren’t there knitting rooms?)

Maybe you should name your rooms differently. Bob. Joe. Martha. Blue, green, rough, smooth, Let people guess what goes on in them. They won’t be any more wrong than they are now.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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