Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

new and old


We are in the middle of moving house to a different part of town which is very quiet with lots of trees and yet within walking-distance of shops, cafes and other good things. I don't know whether such places are common in America, but evidently they do exist (unless this is the only one). Anyway, this is very good news for me. There are also buses that go to other useful places, and they are regular, air-conditioned and very very cheap, so hooray to that too.

Also it is old, which means 1930s by US standards, which would be quite modern in most of England. However, 1930s houses here are more old-fashioned already than 1930s houses in the UK- Waltons-style wooden houses with gardens and often porches on the front for your swinging bench, probably much the same as houses from the century before only they didn't get eaten by termites. Nothing like those functional semi-detached homes with bay windows on the front that sprouted in the UK between the wars.

Who knows if one day I will change my mind, but for me the idea of living in a modern residential area of the kind that seems to be most popular with most Americans still fills me with horror. Being near shops etc is not, for me, about going carless- it's about feeling civilisation nearby. That is what I am used to, and it makes me feel at home. Modern American family homes are very impressive, with their double-height ceilings and enormous rooms and so on, but I grew up on a modern housing estate as a child and it gave me nightmares, and clearly I haven't got over that yet. I have to say that there is no comparison between the two- for one thing, American homes are nearly all detached, with garden all around, and each house different than its neighbour. But they still freak me out, and presumably other people too or Desperate Housewives and American Beauty would not have been invented. (Those are both metaphorical tales of architecture, right?)

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot lately about how both moral and aesthetic decisions are very often determined by one's situation and knowledge-base, rather than being blanket goods and bads that can be applied to everyone regardless of their uniquenesses. You often have to know yourself before making the right decision: will I realistically cope with adopting seven children at once, or am I going to mess it up because I just don't have the skills or the desire to learn them properly? Should I really eat another giant bowl of tater-tots with extra melted cheese and lard topping, or will the prison-guards start bringing us low-fat broccoli salad in the next few days? Adopting homeless kids is generally good, and junk food is generally inferior, but either can be fine or terrible depending on the individual circumstances.

Coming today: new fridge, bottom of the line, no ice-maker as the plumbing for it doesn't exist here. And the piano. It's a medium-sized upright about 25 years old, made by Baldwin, and it will be the first piano I have owned. Which is ridiculous. Still, life begins at forty so I am actually a few years ahead of the game.


At 8:27 PM, Blogger Mrs. du Toit said...

Marvelous. And this is just the beginning.

Congrats on new house.... and life, too.


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