Kids didn’t like me in school and so that translated into me daydreaming about building the ultimate tree house. I also drew floor plans for houses that did not exist in trees. This probably seems like a strange outcome for such a situation.
My main point was that I wanted to create an environment that was all mine, and one where I had the opportunity to exclude people.
I imagined tree houses with doors built into the trunk, some of them fantastically disguised, where I, perched in the lofty limbs of the tree, could look down on people. Safely out of reach, I could watch life and not have to participate in it. My treehouses had elaborate self-sustaining systems of water and energy, and I spent more than one class day at school daydreaming of the optimal way to produce power and maintain structural integrity of the tree. Maybe this is why Richard Preston’s book The Wild Trees intrigued me.
Oddly, I never had a treehouse growing up. We had tree forts, where my sister and I would construct housing and fortresses in the trees and shelterbelts surrounding the farm. These were all earth-bound, however. There was no treehouse.
As I got older and my imagination took the blows dealt it by puberty and high school, I began to realize the unlikely scenario of a treehouse with a central powered-elevator structure and hidden passageways through gigantic roots. (The roots led to other tree houses, of course.)
Instead, I imagined massive living quarters carved into the living rock of some cliff where no other person was, with gigantic panes of glass that overlooked the earth below.
There would be a drawbridge of some sort, of course, and vast valleys impossible to cross all around. Emergency getaway would be possible through passages hewn through the rock. There were always libraries — huge ones with wheeled ladders, and maybe even staircases — and a room for a piano.
But always it was to be away and excluded from other people. No one would get in unless I let them. I would remain distant, and watch through the many windows which I liberally sprinkled in all of my drawings and daydreams.
I drew many sketches of these ideas. Putting it on paper was almost really being there.
During my college years, I rented out the basement of a house and my view consisted of plants and the ankles and feet of people walking by. It was dreadful and I longed to get to that higher vantage point.
As an adult, my ultimate tree house daydreams now include a zipline and a situation room, as this seems a necessary addition to the defense theme. Additionally, I take into consideration necessary defenses that might be required for a zombie apocalypse. What is classified as a “zombie” is pretty open-ended; I pass some of them on the street every day.
All of this daydreaming in jest, of course, as I live in my second-floor apartment and have box seats at the symphony, because it’s silly to keep thinking like that, thinking of ways to keep people out and away from me.