I moved recently. And I had a long time friend over who commented on that fact that it seemed like every other apartment I've ever had — and he's seen at least eight different places I've lived.
Now, there is nothing particularly novel about this observation. We've all noticed it in ourselved and our friends, especially as we get older (obviously). A friend moves and he immediately replicates his old space.
We could say there's the same stuff, more or less — same couch, same table, same art. But that's not always the case. In my new place, everything is new. And yet it is still very much my space.
No, it's not that there's the same stuff, it's that there's a common distribution of mood — the same distribution of stuff, a common way of organizing chaos and order. We all have our unique thresholds for visual and aural disorder. It's not simply being clean or not, ordered or not. We each enjoy a distinctive signature of visual noise, an elaborate algorithm: pristine here, scraps there, piles, scattershot papers, stacks, a calculus of dust and dishes and noise and smell.
Don't underestimate smell.
And then there's light. We replicate the play of darkness and light, how the sun shines, how we light the space.
And I love this. I love that we each make sense of space in our own way and that this way forges a niche in the becoming of the world. Just as ants make their kinds of homes, moles theirs, birds theirs and so on, so do we each, individually, make this organization of the world, at least in the limited space we call home.