This post originally appeared on Bed Crumbs.
They say you shouldn’t eat in bed. I do not listen to this rule. Partly out of necessity, partly out of habit, partly out of the fact that I’ve never been one to obey arbitrary rules like that. (I type this as a bowl of oatmeal sits precariously by my side. It could overturn at a moment’s notice, leaving a sticky cinnamon smear on my white blanket. This happened last week. I am unconcerned.)
When I moved to my first real New York apartment, I had no kitchen table. I had no desk. I shared a tiny two bedroom in the Lower East Side with an impossibly thin woman old enough to be my mother (I was blissfully unaware of her age until months later; this is another story) and her equally minuscule dog. A kitchenette sat in one corner. Aside from a couch, which served no purpose other than aesthetics — neither of us used it — squeezed into the nook by the fire escape, we had no seating of any kind.
Out of necessity, I ate in bed. Cross-legged, I sat covered in blankets, even when temperatures outside pushed 100º. Oatmeal in the morning. Yogurts. Crackers and pretzels. Salads, apples, carrots and celery with hummus. The occasional bag of gummy worms from Dylan’s. I brought my breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and evening snacks into bed with me. Only when I ate something truly dangerous, like soup, did I wedge myself onto the floor, a narrow patch of space not even two feet wide, between my bed and a metal shelving unit.
My room was more an oversized closet than a real bedroom. I paid too much but thought I didn’t have a choice. I was in New York, no longer a student, but an adult. I thought that was what you were supposed to do.
A year later, I found myself in Astoria, with two girls my age, one of which had been my best friend since I was 10 years old. We traded a Manhattan location for a generously sized apartment. We had space! Room for activities! Furniture! A full kitchen with stainless steel appliances! All the things real adults are supposed to have. And it was cheap. Month after month, we questioned what we did to get such a nice place to live. We were not grownups. It was like playing house.
We had a kitchen table that we purchased from Ikea. (It’s worth noting that it has not yet broken.) We sat cross legged on the hardwood floors in the sweltering September heat, windows open and fans blasting on high and built it ourselves. Gabi used a mallet to drive the legs into the tabletop. Sarah pieced together the four individual chairs that came with it. We cursed a little. Maybe a lot. When it was finished, we put a paisley tablecloth on it and called it a day.
After all that work, still, here I am. Why must we save breakfast in bed for special occasions? My coffee could creep over the edge of my oversized mug any minute. My oatmeal bowl is now nearly empty on the windowsill behind me. Tonight I will probably huddle under a blanket and nibble on crackers and trail mix, sip another Diet Coke. Old habits die hard.