“…So that’s the kitchen. If you’ll come with me this way – just come right through the door but watch your step there, the beam comes down a little lower than it does in the rest of the house – okay, great – this is the hallway that connects the living area to the master suite. [Pause].

Oh, the sign? Yes, technically this is a Hall of Shame. No, a Hall of Shame. Past it we come into the main bedroom…Sure, of course, I’m happy to talk about it. It’s a fairly standard feature for most homes of this style in the neighborhood. Like most Halls of Shame, it acts as a general repository of all the shame, attacks of conscience, nostalgia, regret, qualms, pangs of remorse and overall dissatisfaction that the homeowner accumulates during the lease…[unintelligible] No, during the time of the lease only.

That’s a great question. You see this spot here? This is an Isolation Sconce. So for every time you feel cut off from the people around you, for example, but instead of using that feeling to try harder to connect or communicate, you neglect their feelings, that would go here. And then let’s say that drove a wedge further between you, and you both started doing a worse job of asking each other how you were doing and as a result started making uncharitable assumptions about each others’ inner lives without any actual evidence, and then started feeling both cut off and superior at the same time, that would fall under the purview of this sconce. Or sconces, if you made a habit of it, I suppose. [Laughs]. Yes, there are a lot of them here.

No, any preexisting features in the hall disappear upon move-in, so you can create your own memories here. There’s some really interesting self-hatred detailing a little further down, if you want to take a look at some more examples. You can see where the previous owner became so paralyzed by loathing, both of the world around her and of her inability to make herself known to the people she loved, that it actually warped some of the crown molding…Those? Those markings are developed slowly, over time. Every night that she spent hours watching Netflix instead of creating anything of value or appreciating the work of others drove the lines deeper into the walls.

Most of the detailing you’ll see is original to the house. It’s been carefully crafted through years of confessions withheld, vicious accusations perfectly timed to shred the hearer’s self-esteem while minimizing blowback, violent and quiet resentment, the slow and steady curdling of talent into torpor, the dissolution of character through indolence brought on by panic.

No, don’t open that! Don’t open that cabinet! Don’t open it!

Oh, my God. Wow. [Laughs]. Phew. I’m sorry about that. How’s your hand? Is it all right? Let me see…It looks fine. You should be fine. Wow. Sorry. I should have mentioned that.

Sorry? Oh, nothing. There’s nothing in there.

I’m sorry, I really can’t say. It’s different for everyone. Once you move in, of course, whatever’s inside will belong to you. I wouldn’t recommend opening the door then either, of course.

Now if you’ll come with me into the master bedroom, you’ll see [unintelligible].”

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]