on my way home last night i smelled the unmistakable odor of the neighbor's fireplace. i sat on my couch looking at mine, delicately decorated in tin, not knowing a real fire since the late 80's, now home to a wooden fish and a lava lamp.
my last apartment had a fireplace. in fact, that's the only reason we took the place. there was a waaaaay better 3 bedroom a few blocks away but for some reason my gay roommates got the better of my reasoning when they convinced me to rent the smaller, more expensive, colder apartment with an electric stove and no dining room because "think of it! real fires all winter long!" of course, it never happened. because it took about 1 hour to get thru the 20 pound bundle you bought at the whole foods, which the little korean market on the corner sold for 3 times more. the duraflames from price club always went out halfway through the log, leaving a pseudo-plastic mess for the cat to lick, and only if we were lucky we caught the truck of rednecks delivering organic cedar from west virginia to the gays across the street, then we had some scraps to last a few days. it wasn't until i discovered a neighbor's stash across the alley that fires became a little more frequent. but then one day there was a chainlink fence. and then motion-detector lights. then it just wasn't worth the frayed pants anymore and gashes in the palm anymore. it wasn't until i moved somewhere with a clogged up flue that my scavenging friend found 3 chords of free firewood out near gaithersburg, which he delivered to the only person we know who has a fireplace, but doesn't use it because of the baby. bah humpbug.