I read a letter in one of the papers yesterday from a bunch of 15 wankers - er - academics, who were pontificating about the awfulness of allowing the construction of 40 or 50,000 new homes on the fringes of Melbourne. They were all urban blighters, I mean, planners of some sort - the sort that have their head wedged firmly up their arse. To them, having a detatched house with a bit of a yard out in the sticks was the equivalent of the Four Kevins of the Apocalypse. No wait, the Four Kevins of the Apocalypse are Debt, Carbon Taxes, Unions and even More Taxes.
Sorry, I meant the Four Gores of the Apocalypse - CO2, Urban Sprawl, Car Dependency and Kids.
Why else would you want a largish house with a bit of lawn unless you have sprogs? These days, thanks to infantile land release policies, zoning stupidities and rapacious land taxes, the only way for a family on an average income with kids to afford a house is to go and live way, way, way out in the 'burbs. Given that these Wacademics were all decrying the free-standing house, I presume they all live in inner-city apartments, have no cars, no kids, have an average income and never, ever travel overseas for an academic conference.
Anyway, I got annoyed at their letter, and then thought about why so many people are miserable these days. It seems the more we get, the more unhappy we become.
Well, not me. Other people might get miserable, but I'm not one of them. I keep myself too busy to have time to get blue.
I was pondering this as I was cranking through a full list of weekend duties. We did a big shop this morning, and since I am not riding this weekend (already rode four days this week), the kitchen and garden are keeping me flat out. A tray full of tomatoes has been sliced, scooped and salted and is now in the oven drying out - they will make sauce to go on pizzas tomorrow night.
A whole chook went into the stock pot, and we now have shredded chicken in the fridge for sandwiches during the week, as well as a litre or so of stock for risotto. A huge pumpkin was chopped up and slow roasted in the oven, and together with the rest of the stock, it is now soup. (Funny how when we mash roast pumpkin together with stock for Mr Squishy, we call it "mush". When adults get the same thing, we call it "soup".)
As soon as the oven is clear of tomatoes, I'm baking biscuits. Then I have to make dough for the pizza (it can rest in the fridge over night). In between all of this, I've been weeding the garden and keeping the kids busy - none of them have seen any TV for nearly 2 weeks now. There's guitar practice to annoy the neighbours, homework to be caught up on and toys to be put away.
J is making curtains and spring cleaning and re-arranging most of the house. I've already pulled everything in the office apart and put it back together - all the computers and so forth - in order to improve our workspace. We have outdoor furniture to repair, bikes to clean and maintain, ovens to scrub, shirts to iron and on and on it goes.
In other words, my day is full. I barely have time to blog between stirring things in pots on the stove and extracting weeds. I write a paragraph, then leave the office to carry on with yet another task. The blogging gives my back a few minutes of rest between activities.
We have lots to do because we have a house and garden. If we had an apartment, we wouldn't have to do half of this (no garden) and we probably wouldn't be able to do the other half (no room to cook). We'd probably be bored.
Bored people are malcontents. The brain needs something to keep it occupied. I ride, and weed and so forth because the body likes to be kept occupied as well. If I find myself with little to do, I generally try and find something to do. Loafing in front of the TV, eating take away pizza, is not my idea of filling in time.
Back to our idiot academics. They are trying to deny people those things that will keep them happy - the space and peace and quiet that comes from owning your own bit of land with a house on it. All I can say to them is this - fuck you.