The Orange Slate

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Tales of City Life – Urban Dwellers Have Bike Rooms

July 11, 2013

Living in the city provides us with all sorts of interesting stories to dramatically relive in later years.

For instance, there's the whole space thing. Mark and I both grew up in place with yards and garages and attics and unused basements, random places to store random items that you only looked at once a year or maybe every five.

But now we live in a little rowhouse in one of the "transitional" corners of Northeast D.C. and there is literally no spare space. There is a yard and a beautiful large porch, but if you leave anything outside, it probably will not be there the next morning. Our neighborhood hasn't transitioned that much yet.

The attic space all but disappeared when Mark renovated a few years ago. 

And the 600ish square feet of basement where Mark and I live is literally full to the brim between my books, his tools, and our few pieces of furniture. I'm learning all sorts of organizing tricks because when you have so much stuff in such a small space, you have to be organized or you will both go crazy.

At least, Mark and I would both go crazy. An engineer and a former scheduler can't help but be overly organized. If stuff is too messy, we literally cease to function and I threaten to put everything that we own on Freecyle and Mark looks up ways to move to a foreign country where Costco doesn't exist. Fortunately, we both know that we can't function in a messy environment, so we are generally really diligent about staying organized. 

To complicate matters, there are The Bikes. In D.C. – and I suppose in any other crowded city – bikes are treated differently than they are in less crowded areas. The lack of any kind of outdoor storage space means bikes are normally kept inside. 

I suppose this  works just fine if you only have one bike, since one bike can be tucked away in the laundry area or behind the bed or something. 

But we have seven bikes. In my defense, I have just one. But Mark has two. One is a backup or a different kind of bike or an extra bike for a friend or something like that. The four other bikes belong to our three roommates. I'm not sure exactly how the possession breaks down but the end result of this is that our dining room doubles as a bike home.

Bike 3

Or perhaps it's more fair to say that the Bike Room doubles as a dining room, since the bikes were here before we began eating like adults. It happened like this:

Me: "When we are married, we need to eat at the table every night."

Mark: "Why?"

Me: "Because sitting on the couch is bad for our posture and we need to practice good habits now so that when we have children we have good systems. "

Mark is an engineer and he is all about good systems. So whenever I need to justify something, I just figure out a way to explain why it is a good system and then Mark thinks it is a great idea. 

So we pulled out the dining room table that had been buried under tool chests and bikes and now we have a real adult dining room with a table and chairs and candles.

And our dining room is unique and urban because we eat surrounded by 7 bikes every night, so we feel like cool hipsters every evening for about 30 minutes even though we are probably the least hipster-like people in this entire city.