Thursday, April 15, 2010

Places That Comfort

Marjorie’s Porch, 2003

A friend posted a picture of her living room on Flickr the other day. It was the kind of place where I could easily imagine curling up for good conversation, a good book, good drink, good music or just a good nap.

If you’re reading this on the day it was posted, the reason I’m thinking about places that are comforting is because I’m in the midst of two days of an intense series of interviews that are taking place in the inner sanctums of tertiary care hospitals. (I’m not interviewing for a job. I’m interviewing hospital executives, doctors, nurses and so on.)

I’ve yet to visit a hospital that could be called “comfortable” or, for that matter, comforting. The dynamics of healthcare and hygiene apparently don’t leave much space for warm, comfortable furniture and incandescent light. If you had to think of adjectives that describe most hospitals, I’ll bet two of the first five words you’d think of would be “cold” and “hard.” Could it be that they think that if the chairs in the waiting rooms are more comfortable people will want to stick around and not go home? That I’m asking such questions tells you a lot about why I’m not employed in the healthcare industry.

We all have things that trigger good thoughts. For some, it might be a smell or a sound. Who can resist the coo of a baby (especially if it’s someone else’s baby you can give back when it starts to cry)? For others it’s a place, say, a beach or a mountain.

Pictures do this for me. I look at pictures and more often than not can be transported back to the time and place where they were taken.

One of the pictures that always makes me feel good is Marjorie’s Porch, above. One visit to this charmed place was enough to make me a believer. I’ve had many meals and much to drink on this porch. I’ve had wonderful conversations with friends on this porch. I’ve read books and listened to music on this porch. I’m pretty sure I’ve slept on it a time or two. It’s a good porch for sleeping.

If there’s a heaven, my guess is that it looks something like Marjorie’s Porch.


  1. Calgon, take me away. I remember that porch--it's wonderful! I think God made a mistake--that was supposed to be MY porch.

    As for hospitals and doctors' offices, etc, they really are so sterile and cold. No two ways about it. No wonder I go immediately into fight or flight mode there. Amazing that we expect people to get well in that environment.

  2. My comfort place is inside a bowl of macaroni and cheese.