Elizabeth Willis Barrett………………..December 2013
The other day I was lingering again too long on Facebook and read about a couple who built a tiny house because they wanted to reduce the imprint they made upon the earth. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but I am guessing that it means they didn’t want to buy into materialism and the stuff-ness that we all get into. As I walked through my five bedroom “castle” overloaded with this and that, thinking about that tiny house made me feel over indulged and rather selfish. Then I started thinking, which is a very good thing to do. Here are some things I thought about:
If you live in a house that small, where do you put a washing machine? Of course, you could always take your laundry to a Laundromat which they must do if they don’t infringe upon one of their parents. But since they live on 5 acres out in the country, it must be rather far to drive to a Laundromat which would use up the precious commodities of gas and rubber and whatever else a car needs to function. That could somewhat increase one’s imprint on the planet.
In a house that small, you could never have guests over, which could be good or bad depending on the guests. If they came, they’d have to bring their own chairs (BYOC) and sit outside since there would be no room inside for extra chairs. And what if it were raining outside? You would have to rely on a benevolent Heaven for good weather. In fact, continual good weather would be a must since you would have no room to store heavy coats or scarves or umbrellas or sweatshirts.
You could delete all hosting responsibilities from your life. No baby showers here. You would definitely have to delete any thoughts of children unless you wanted to build another tiny house for each tiny child. You could also delete any rousing “Honey, I’m home!”s from your vocabulary since that would be an overkill of one’s presence in such a small space.
Animals could be deleted, too, which is a plus in my eyes. There would be no place to keep dog food and no place for the pet to get out of the occasional inclement weather that is bound to come in spite of Heaven’s benevolence.
If you lived on five acres, wouldn’t there be some outdoor things you’d need: a lawnmower maybe? Some rakes? If you had that much land, wouldn’t you try to grow some food? And you’d need to preserve that food. Seems like you’d need a pressure cooker, Mason jars, large pots, extra shelves, a freezer. Can’t fit all that in a tiny house.
Doesn’t she ever bring work home from the office? Doesn’t he ever bring papers home to grade? Where would they put that stuff? Or even an ice chest for picnics?
One thing I’d really miss is a piano. No room for that in their house. Not even room for a violin. No room for sheets of music or sheets to rip and crochet into a rug. No room for the crochet hook, much less a sewing machine or a Cricut to create with. Creativity would have to be limited to the computer. Maybe that’s enough for them.
Every important paper would have to be scanned into computers. But where would they keep a printer to print them out when needed? And how many outfits could possibly be hung up in such a tiny house for two people. They’d have to wear the same things day after day after day. Maybe they never go to company parties or plays like “Wicked.” And where would they keep extra toilet paper or soap or shampoo or shaving cream? Do they have to go to the store every day just to keep supplied?
Pretty soon, wouldn’t you go crazy out of your mind just sitting in that teensy weensy space with another person? It would be a prison of your own making. I can’t see love and affability continuing indefinitely in these tight quarters. I go nuts when I have to walk around Brad in our comparatively large kitchen. What would I do if there was only one place for him to stand and that place was in the center of everything? There would be only one thing to do–slip into an UN-retractable decline of insanity.
Maybe this tiny house business is only for weekends or perhaps a prelude to a large dream home on their to-be-coveted five acres. If so, this couple shouldn’t give the impression to the world of Facebook believers that living in a tiny house year after year is going to bring peace and serenity as they smugly “make a smaller imprint on the planet.” I for one don’t believe it is possible. In fact, I give them three months–tops.
Maybe living in a space no bigger than a rabbit hole without being burdened with life’s overwhelming stuff sounds good in theory. But theory and reality are so distantly related to each other that they’re not even third cousins twice removed.