Move into a tiny house? Small chance
It’s easy to look ahead a couple hundred years and imagine the things future generations will ridicule about life here in 2017:
“People paid money to have Chinese symbols inked onto their calves.”
“A popular form of entertainment was watching wealthy middle-aged housewives in Atlanta, Georgia, yelling at each other.”
“They ate kale.”
Add to this the tiny house movement, wherein Americans are ditching the McMansions in exchange for the simplicity of trailer-type dwellings with less square footage than Kim Kardashian’s bum.
I was watching a documentary on tiny houses the other night, and it got me to thinking: Why am I watching a documentary on tiny houses?
So I channel-surfed until I arrived at a sitcom where a waitress was showing a lot of cleavage. But that’s not my main point.
My main point is that Americans are really starting to embrace this tiny house movement. Couples are moving into small, less-expensive dwellings to save money for other things, such as early retirement, or travel, or sedatives, which is what I would need if I lived with my kids in a 300-square-foot trailer.
I get on Marie’s nerves when we’re both in the kitchen together. Cramped together 24-7 in a tiny pre-fab? I’d give it less than six months before I was stabbed with a meat thermometer.
Yet those small house shows on Netflix and HGTV are really popular. Americans — lying on seven-foot-long leather couches, watching on 60-inch TVs in 4,000-square-foot homes — are really embracing downsizing.
The couples profiled in these shows naturally display the excitement all new homeowners experience, but I can’t imagine anyone actually wanting to be that confined. They just want to avoid a large mortgage and have more freedom. It’s admirable, but I’d love to see some honesty for once.
“This sucks,” Tori would admit in a rare moment of candor. “We were going to host a dinner party, but the bathroom is just 10 inches away from the dining room table!”
“We’re so cramped and driving each other so crazy,” Jonah would add. “We watch those spousal murder mysteries on Dateline NBC just for the ideas.”
There are some exceptions, but the phrase “I don’t need a 5,000-square-foot house to be happy” usually means “I can’t afford a 5,000-square-foot house.”
As an aspiring minimalist, I could embrace this small house movement if its advocates weren’t so sanctimonious.
The New Yorker magazine recently ran a pro-tiny house article. Small house occupants were described as having “a larger life, and lighter conscience.”
No, they don’t. I lived in a very small two-bedroom house, with a wife and a screaming 6-month-old baby. I did not live “a larger life.” I lived a life where I wanted to drink at 9 a.m.
The article went on to describe people living in big houses as being “wasteful and environmentally noxious.” Which is fine, except The New Yorker’s offices are in the new 1 World Trade Center. Thoreau at Walden Pond they are not. It’s hard to be lectured on downsizing from someone who resides in the largest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere.
Other tiny house advocates say things like, “I wouldn’t want the hassle of having to clean a 20,000-square-foot house,” as if Mariah Carey spends mornings in her penthouse scrubbing grout.
The HGTV “Tiny Houses” couples all share the blissful excitement one experiences when moving into a new pad, but I want to see the follow-up interview after six months, assuming both partners have retained full mental capacity.
“Are they still happy?” I want to know. “After the third consecutive day of rain, did the claustrophobia kick in?” and “When did they turn to heroin?”
Mainly I want to know if this tiny house trend will continue. Will this be the norm soon? Will my wife and I eventually downsize and move into a 300-square-foot house?
If so, I’m definitely hiding the meat thermometer.