A few days ago, Sam and I were just pulling out of the library parking lot and heading for home when he immediately dropped off to sleep. Now, I hate to waste the opportunity to give him a good nap; he always wakes up when I take him out of his carseat, and he's never pleased about it. Instead of going home, therefore, I decided to do a little of what I call "Zen driving": that is, driving around with no destination in mind, deliberately attempting to get slightly lost, and then finding my way home as best I can. For someone with absolutely no sense of direction, this game can be quite fun, as long as you don't try it in an area with any "bad parts."
So I was driving, and I opted to head up Front Street, where many of the really old, beautiful houses line the bank of the river. I spotted an entrance to a housing development and decided to investigate.
Oh, my word. These houses were beyond gorgeous! Narrow tree-lined paths looped in and out between hills (you know you're wealthy when you can afford hills in this flat-as-a-pancake area) to obscure the mansions from view; lakes sprawled on the lawns of four and five-story residences. I found my way to a wrought-iron bridge. On the other side were even more huge houses.
One house in particular made the breath catch in my throat. It was easily five stories high and spread in every direction for what looked like an entire city block. A couple of expensive German cars sat in the driveway-cum-parking lot next to the house. The exterior was ornamented to look like an old English cathedral. It was positively palatial.
As I left, a thought entered my mind: I'd love to live in one of those houses, but it's far too much for just my family. What I need is to get together with a group of like-minded friends and live together in one of these places. A commune! That's what I need!
At about the same time, it seemed that Aimee was having similar hankerings. She went so far as to put together a mailing list - a "virtual commune" - and it's filling a need quite nicely. Unfortunately, it's also increasing my own cravings for more than just a virtual community. I want this kind of community in the flesh, darn it!
Eric twiddled his chopstick. "If I was really wealthy, I'd build a huge dome commune. I'd have one massive dome in the center, as a main common area, with dining, kitchen, and living rooms. All around it, I'd have smaller domes for individuals or families - sleeping, bathrooms, and maybe a small sitting-type area."
"Where would you put it?"
"I don't know. Pittsburgh? The coast would be nice, too."
"And what kind of commune would it be? What type of person or theme would be the common thread?"
"Well, if I was really wealthy, I might make it an artists' colony."
I'd like to live in his dome. I don't know about it as an artists' colony, though. I've often thought, particularly when I was in college, about going off to live in a colony for awhile, but the most attractive part of it, for me, was the idea of being alone without distractions. Somehow, the idea of living with a close-knit group of people doesn't seem to me to be the best situation for fostering creative growth. That's personal, though; I know other musicians and artists thrive in a group situation.
But this begs the question: in what sort of commune would I want to live?
- Technical Commune
- Yeah, that would be fun for about a week before I'd be ready to tear my own hair out. Geeks are fun people for the most part, but a community like this would just beg for one-upmanship to start. Let's face it: while I may be more of a tech-geek than many of the members of my local neighborhood, I couldn't hang with a true technically-based community for more than a few days. And this doesn't touch the fact that babies aren't generally compatible with that sort of lifestyle; Sam's love of teething on cables wouldn't go over too well with the group, I'm afraid.
- Back to Basics Commune
- Sure, I make my own bread and crotchet, but I'm sorry to say that my occasional enjoyment of ready-made dinners would get me ousted. Plus, I wouldn't be able to hold up my end of the stick in many areas; my plants always commit suicide, and I get squicked even thinking about where meat comes from, let alone procuring and preparing it. (If it doesn't come shrink-wrapped and missing all its organs, I don't want it in my kitchen!) And sewing clothing? I'm hopeless.
- Free Love Commune
- Heh. Eric joked about this one last night. Not for either of us, though. We're a bit too staunchly conservative.
- Religious Commune
- Swinging back in the other direction wouldn't work either. The problem with organizing a community by one single thread is that the other pieces of the puzzle may clash violently. Eric and I get along fine with members of our church while in church, but we wouldn't do so well on a permanent living basis. Some of our politics are pretty liberal compared to the church's, and some are much more conservative (one reason why we're in the process of finding another church as we speak). A major problem for me would be the prevailing attitudes among many (not all) Christians concerning child rearing and discipline. Even if I laid down the law and said that Sam was not to be spanked, hit, or otherwise physically punished, I still wouldn't want him raised so closely to others who believe that a "good spanking" is what a child needs and that babies need to cry by themselves at night to learn independence. I don't want him thinking that's normal.
- Parenting Commune
- Here we go! A group of like-minded mothers and fathers, raising their children with love and nurturing, with positive discipline and attachment. Now, this I could enjoy. As I told Eric last night, I think that a group of people practicing attachment parenting might also be more likely to practice "attachment friendship": being open-minded about the subtle differences in thought and deed that make us individuals. Meat-eating, church-going, television-watching Mama meets her vegetarian, atheist, media-eschewing counterpart, and everybody might have a shot at getting along because of a common belief in respect for all. If there are disagreements, as there are sure to be in any group living situation, they could be resolved without screaming and fighting. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I think it could work.
Now I just have to find some local attachment parents who'd like to join me. Oh, and get the money to either build a dome or buy one of those mansions. Little things, you know.
Small, sharp teeth feel even sharper when they're being sunk into your breast. Ouch!
one year ago:
I was in no mood at all to pay good, hard-earned money to have some nurse scoff at us for deciding to birth at home, all the while extolling the virtues of continuous and internal fetal monitoring.
two years ago:
To a three-year-old, injuries rank almost as high as dinosaurs on the level of coolness.