Cohousing, vintage kilts and a novel argument

July 28, 2016 10:37 pm

Eavesdropping on a conversation between neighbours about downsizing to go and live in cohousing:

“What about the garden!” Hilda said gazing mournfully at her pretty border. “I like gardening so much and a terrace is not enough for me.”flower bed

Big sigh from Tami: “A pond, a big flower garden, an allotment and wild meadows. Plenty to occupy you.”

“Yes but it is shared; it is not mine. I am not used to it.”

Even bigger sigh from Tami: “It is yours collectively. Look at the pros instead of moaning. There will always be somebody to water it and to help with the heavy jobs. Think about that!”

Hilda looked doubtful.

“You also share the costs.” Tami knew her arguments. “A huge garden for the price of a small one. And skills; sharing skills. You always kill your roses when you prune them.”

Hilda sulked. “Do you know what worries me?” she almost whispered.

Tami kept quiet. She knew too well what was on Hilda’s mind: space, storeroom, where to put her collection of vintage kilts, her mother’s lovely dinner set and all the antique side tables lovingly restored over the years. Tami too was feeling uncomfortable about having to give away a lot of her books. It felt like giving away a part of herself. A lot of those books were collected in the course of her academic career…

Her thoughts were interrupted by Hilda “I worry that people will think less of me.”

“What! That’s a new one.” Tami looked at her, astonished. It was a novel argument. “What do you mean?”

Hilda hesitated; she was slightly red. Looking down at her mug she murmured: “Well, I have always been Hilda, who lives in the big house with the nice garden and beautiful tea sets. It made me feel good to be somebody. I am respected because of it.”

Tami sniffed haughtily. “You are respected, Hilda, because you have good friends and because you are a good friend. What worries me is what to do when the kids come with the baby. I am going to have to let go of the high chair, the cot, the baby bath, the playpen, the car seat, the…”

Hilda’s laughter was not kind. “I thought Danny would keep all that baby paraphernalia in his garage and we would be able to borrow it when needed. The same with the tools, pool and all the garden stuff.”

Tami thought for a moment. “It’s all in the mind, isn’t it?“ she said. “We fret about the rare events and forget the everyday advantages: uncluttered life, sharing with friends, living in a low maintenance house.”  After a long while gazing into the distance she said in a dreamy voice, “Being instead of having; experiencing life instead of counting stuff; the book club instead of the books; the…”

“When is the valuer coming?”

“Should be here soon. More tea?”



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