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people actually care about that stuff?

Friday, February 24th, 2012 by

There are two of us building this house, obviously, and if it does nothing else the process has been teaching us that we are, in fact, different.  In some ways.  But what I’m learning is how different I am, apparently, from many other people who build houses.  silverware drawer

Yesterday we re-started (long story behind that “re-,” since Fred is now being designed and built by people other than those with whom we started out) the design of the individual rooms, and while we were talking about the kitchen folks were asking where we wanted things.  It dawned on me that my own laissez-faire attitude toward the exact location of each item in the kitchen was unusual when our wonderful builder asked me where I wanted the silverware drawer and I said something like “I don’t know, wherever.”  He seemed genuinely surprised that I had not only obviously not decided this long before but that I was not passionately invested in its exact location.

Here’s what makes no sense to me; people are being bombarded by their own government in Syria; the Republican presidential candidates seem determined to send women back to their kitchens barefoot and pregnant (read The Handmaid’s Tale if you want an idea of what their vision of utopia would be); and perfectly nice people are being deported from the U.S. or their children denied a public education because of where they were born…and I’m supposed to feel deeply offended if I have to walk two more steps to get to the silverware?

And this amazement isn’t shared by anyone else who’s ever built a house?


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2 Responses to “people actually care about that stuff?”

  1. Peter says:

    My wife and I built our own modernist and green home two years ago and while I sorta understand your post, it’s a big and somewhat irrelevant leap to imply that folks who worry about the details more than you may be less concerned about US and world events.

    I had an agreement with our contractor that if my wife ever told him “whatever or wherever” he should let me know and we would all talk it through. Our working mantra was that later in the project she would never be heard to say “I did not know it was going to look, or be, like that.

    The bottom line is that kitchens are workspaces and there are rationale reasons for the locations of things. I also suspect that you not spending the extra time to make such decisions will have absolutely no impact US and world events you reference.

  2. Laura says:

    You make a good point, one I didn’t intend but that certainly could be inferred. My reaction was, no doubt, somewhat defensive; while our builder certainly didn’t mean to imply that I was somehow lacking because it didn’t matter to me if the silverware drawer was on the right- or left-hand side of the sink, I felt that way. As someone who’s lived in 25+ different houses, apartments, boats and even a trailer in her life I have learned to adapt to my surroundings. I just sometimes still find it odd (though I know most people are more likely to care about such things) that anyone would invest much emotion in what seem like minutiae to me. What struck me as I drove home that day was how very much hearing about the Presidential debates got me riled up, and how sad I felt at the news about Homs, while the drawer thing just didn’t mean very much…to me. This process has driven home how very different I am from most people, and I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing.

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