I wish I could blame this on the Internet, truly I do. But I can’t.
I wish I could blame this on Social Media, the Internet’s Logical Offspring. But I can’t.
The truth is, I Am A Stalker. I always have been. But I don’t stalk people – I stalk things. Old Events. Vintage mixing bowls & kitchen stuff. Art. Stuff I have a faint memory of (often smell-induced). I was Google before it was a gleam in its daddy’s eye. Pre-internet, I once drove from Chicago back to the St Louis Public Library to spend hours going through ALL the Post-Dispatch microfiche to find a Saturday children’s show (from 1973-1976) so I could try to hunt down this film (and yes, year of two later I found it! It was just at the outset of the Internet and was called Three Nuts for Cinderella (the ‘wishes’ came in the form of a branch with three nuts on it) – do you know how much PORN popped up on my computer when I plugged in that title? OMG. And in those days, you couldn’t get out of it – page after page after page would just load, like an entire filecard drawer. Yick. I remember watching the (newer) Thomas Crown Affair, where Rene Russo’s character pretty much admits that what she does (a private investigator for high-end investors/insurers) feeds her stalker tendencies – the ones bequeathed to her by her father ‘Bumper’ Olds (bail bondsman). Those genes were the only bequest, alas, so she had to find her highly successful niche on her own, while her brothers, nurtured by Bumper, slid into mediocrity. I ‘got’ it.
Wait. Where was I? Oh, yes. The stalker tendencies. The inability to Let It Go. I haz it. I wasn’t smart enough to turn it into a profession, though Project Management does come close. But once I get my teeth into something, even a little bit, it’s hard to pry those jaws open. Luckily, though, it’s always ‘things’ *- and since home stuff/kitchens is Mah JAM, often, it’s a BIG thing, like a freaking HOUSE! Here’s an excerpt from a note to March about my stalker tendencies and my current focus:
This house is no different. I have actually dreamt about that kitchen – it’s not that I want THAT kitchen (well, I mean, I do but you know what I mean. I don’t want HER kitchen) – anyway, it’s the freaking Internet – if you put your shit out there, stalkers like me will, eventually, do the virtual legwork necessary to get ALL your intel.
Okay – so by ‘intel’ I don’t mean I…..nebber mind. I DO mean it. It’s February, it’s snowing like stink out there and I was bored. I could’ve , I dunno, read something, or worked on a budget – instead, I decided to Sam Spade. I remembered that the This Old House article listed where that house actually is and I thought ‘hmm..Vermont. Where the hell is Vermont ?(the only thing I knew about VT is that it borders Quebec (thanks to Louise Penny) So. The article sez the house is in ‘tiny Norwich VT’ and before you clutch Ann’s pearls, NO. I was NOT going to just show up at this lady’s door. A) it’s February and B) it’s VERMONT in February. and C) I am NOT that gal. But I remembered they said there’s a local house/garden tour every year (obviously NOT in February) – so I was going to start digging around re that because I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO, right? 😉 I’m just weird.
And yes, I am weird. But you know what? Actually it didn’t start with the whole kitchen – it was the SINK! Great Wavy Gravy! That sink tripped triggers I didn’t even know I had! It spoke of lazy Summer mornings, sipping coffee and watching birds at the feeder, quiet afternoons in early Autumn, prepping harvest, getting tomatoes ready to can. Quiet, peace, comfort, calm, safety. That’s a lot of responsibility for one poor ol’ sink, bless its hort. But I didn’t give it much thought beyond the fantasy wrought by this photo. I didn’t even know it was a real kitchen. I was in film production for decades. I’ve been on film sets that look Just. Like. This. right down to the light slanting through the ‘window’
So I figured it was just a nice design set. Until Algorithms Attacked. Pinterest put damb near the ENTIRE HOUSE in my feed…. and the trackbacks included the This Old House article. It’s a real house! Delightful as that is, learning that brought up a host of questions, like: how does it feel to go onto Pinterest and see every aspect of your house – because this isn’t some show house – this house belongs to a real human woman (and no, I am NOT stalking her. I’m stalking her HOUSE). In the pre-Internet days several friends and clients had their homes featured in shelter rags but back then a physical magazine had a much more limited audience than the Internet. Pre-Pinterest there’s a 70% chance I would’ve never seen this kitchen. Maybe because it’s still a physical rag the TOH article names her and lists the town she lives in. Maybe it was her idea. Who knows? I did check out the town because StalkerandwherethehellisVermont but I didn’t immediately dig into the location etc because I am a stalker, but I’m not creepy. Y’know? Yah.
The Real Human Woman has monetized her house!
Can I just tell you how happy this makes me? She knows the drill, she’s owning it and making BANK on it! Pre-that I was feeling skeevy, thinking ‘omg. I am SUCH a weirdo, driving to some remote state I know little about (maple syrup! King Arthur Flour! 2 hours from Montreal and right down the road from Three Pines ;-)’ to go on a house/garden tour so I can see if this kitchen does the same thing in person that it does in the virtual world. But heck! The owner (Jane Ackerman – and no, I did NOT have to stalk her name – it’s right there in the damb article) has an event planning company and she often uses her house and studio for events! (and yes, How I came upon that intel is, perhaps, a bit creeptastic but oh, well! and here’s a link to her site www.kithkinstudio.com/ it’s pretty neat) – and ON HER BLOG is an invitation that has her address on it (and yes, I read her blog. I’m in love with her kitchen, remember?! Booya!). And because I am weird I wonder which came first: the desire to monetize (I’m all for it, btw) or if, upon seeing all those Pinterest and architectural photos (it’s on their site, too – gorgeously styled with what seems to be JBA’s actual stuff, which may be why it resonates so with me) …I wonder if she just said ‘hmmm…y’know…I could DO something with this…exposure’. I just hope people don’t just show up at her damb door, willy-nilly, as if they are owed something because they saw your stuff on Pinterest. I’ve had former owners of my home(s) just show the hell up – truly! One lady knocked on my front door, half in the bag, with her 3 young daughters in tow, one Summer afternoon. Wanted to see if her two older girls remembered the house (I was the 2nd owner from her sale). I was so…startled. I let her and the little girls in (mostly because the oldest, around 11, looked totally mortified to be there), but it was weird. Especially when she took issue with my reno of one of the bathrooms. Who does that! I guess (hope) you have to be half in the bag to be that…brazen. The 11yr old practically dragged her mom out of there, poor baby. That’s okay, babygirl, we’ve all been there, either as you – or your mom. It’s okay.
So. No. I am NOT going to just SHOW UP at Ms Ackerman’s door. I am going to drag March all the way up to feckin’ VERMONT for the Norwich House and Garden Tour. I will pay for tickets. THEN I will show up at Ms Ackerman’s door…pay homage to James Baldwin (?) and try to figure out where they sited the refrigerator!
That’s not THAT weird, is it?
I’m fascinated by just how transparent so many of our lives are, now that Google Maps has shots of our homes onsite and …hey, with the advent of Facebook, how do people in Witness Protection stay safe – on The Sopranos, remember the chance sighting and hit in upstate NY during Willow’s college tour? What if you’re trying to live your new life and some jackass pops a snap of his grocery haul on Fbook – and you’re in the background, buying grapes? So many questions…
But what’s your thought on how the Internet has made so much of our intel ‘available’ to the world (e.g. looking on Zillow for possible CA property and the photos showed that the house in question is owned by someone with a LOT of Grammys. Guess what? Jim Messina (of Loggins and) is selling his house! I’m looking at Messina’s bathroom! That’s. Just. Weird. He prolly doesn’t care, especially since he’s selling it – but, still… (and no, I am NOT going to his house. That would be creepy. Because I don’t like the kitchen. At All.)
I’m thrilled for Nosy Ol’ Me – but I dunno…I dunno if I want the world knowing about my Frette sheets. Or how many pieces of vintage yellow ware I have stacked in my kitchen (answer: not as much as Ms Ackerman, but damb close)
Most important: do you think I am crazy to drive from DC to Vermont (having first had to get to DC) to look at a kitchen? Fwiw, I used to fly all over the place for art retrospectives (I flew to LA at the onset of the Iraq invasion to see a Lucian Freud retrospective (that was a nervewracking flight. Nobody said one word, ALL THE WAY TO LAX – not even the flight attendants. Nobody) – I was hoping to see but it wasn’t part of the show and mah custard heart was broken! – let me tell you about stalking art! O.M.G. SUCH an expensive proposition, running all over the world – but somebody’s gotta do it. Or at least ‘had to’. These days I’m usually in Wisconsin. Or Nebraska. No Freuds there.
Are any of you stalkers? What things do you stalk (if it’s people do NOT tell me. Yellow ware don’t care – but people do!* I keep saying ‘things’ because, back in the Wayback I was stalked. Twice. Ew. )
The Girl sez ‘hey to Gomer’ and she’ll pull a winner or two. Fwiw, I still owe some winners from the last draw. Bear with me – I am recovering from pneumonia and just writing this is exhausting. I will get everything out asap, I promise!