Now, where was I ...
I’m getting my syllogisms confused with my neologisms.
A neologism is a made-up word. Such as “staycation,” meaning to vacation at home.
A syllogism is a three-part conclusion. It is a classic, logical argument such as:
- Cats are furry, domesticated mammals.
- Veronica is a cat.
- Therefore, Veronica is a furry, domesticated mammal. (Although, in the case of my cat Veronica, sometimes I question the adjective “domesticated.”)
Here is where I have run aground.
- I heard a news story that more people are living alone now than ever in history.
- I see that the Tiny House Movement is trending. This is about downsizing from an ordinary home of, say, 2,600 square feet to an eensy house of 400 square feet or less. (The word “trending” is not ordinarily in my vocabulary. I use it now to show how au courant I am. Au courant is a dated term that means trendy. Even longer ago, it meant hip. I have a multi-age vocabulary.)
- Ergo — an even more antique word meaning “therefore” — with my confused syllogistic logic, what most of us want is to crawl under the bed by ourselves and stay there.
Why is this? Why do we want to be alone in a small, safe space?
I think it’s because the prevailing winds these days are mean. Remember the “Old Mother West Wind” books by Thornton Burgess? The pleasant children’s books with talking animals and the Merry Little Breezes? Those Merry Little Breezes have turned snarly. I’ll bet that even Reddy Fox, Jimmy Skunk and Happy Jack Squirrel are cranky.
Life is so complex and fast-paced, it’s scary. Everything is so big, or so technical or moving so quickly it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and little. A place of refuge is my neighborhood gym with its serene swimming pool, but even this soured once when a lifeguard seemed to be as rigid as Nurse Ratched. I slunk away feeling like a bad, bad child. Sometimes we can feel so fragile in this techno-crazy society, it doesn’t take much to have the world crash in on us. (Vow to self and challenge to the world: Let’s all be kinder and more polite to one another.)
And so we want Tiny Houses. We want a sense of control. We want to pull the world in around us so tightly we can reach out and touch the walls. Everything’s OK; walls are still there; everything is just where I left it.
Maybe we want to step out of the Big Person world of responsibility-without-authority and hide from the economic, technical, geopolitical, environmental, climatic, financial, health care terrors coming at us like flying monkeys. Maybe we want to downsize, get rid of stuff and just be in our own private — albeit tiny — space.
If my Internet research is accurate — that one-third to one-half of our income goes to our housing costs, and that it takes 15 years of our working life just to pay for shelter, and that 76 percent of us are living paycheck to paycheck, and that many young adults are still living with their parents because they cannot afford independent housing because it is so expensive and good paying jobs are so scarce — no wonder the Tiny House Movement is appealing.
Then again, maybe it’s none of that. Maybe it’s just fun, an adventure and a way to relax in the equivalent of a child’s backyard playhouse or clubhouse. Or, maybe tiny houses are just trending.
I don’t have a tiny house. I have a small house. And a dog named Bucky and a cat named Veronica, both of whom seem to shed and take up more space than I do. Which makes me wish I had a tiny house.
In my tiny house I will play the ukulele like Tiny Tim and sing “Tiny Bubbles” like Don Ho.
P.S. Tiny Tim and Don Ho, like albeit and au courant, are from an earlier era.
- Tiny Bubbles, Don Ho
- Tiny Alice – Edward Albee
- Ukulele by Tiny Tim