Size, numbers, space

My kids are buying an enormous house OR the inauguration was the biggest crowd ever. All spatial awareness is in question since I scraped the bumper of a Texas-size pickup truck with my tiny Buick while parallel parking shortly after a breakfast of mini-cinnamon rolls and two fried eggs over easy. Imagine the trouble I'd be in if I'd had scrambled.

The damage looked really minor to me, but the pickup owner may have a significantly different perception. We will work it out without 3 a.m. tweets. I feel pretty silly and incompetent because I was listening to the audiobook of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu discussing suffering and joy. Just when I was flying with my caped serenity superheroes I misjudged the size of a police officer's truck and the curve of the street.

Just how gigantic is the palace my kids are buying? It's a matter of comparison to every home I've lived in distorted by time, emotion, and memory. My homes have been plenty large for riding horses in the living room, resident alligators and hamsters, whole neighborhood Barbie doll cities,  and medieval jousts.

Where in the brain is our spatial perception? Where is the part that counts the crowd attendance and voter fraud?

First I lived in a third floor apartment in a large house at the corner of 20th and B Street where my parents had a green sectional sofa. The apartment was hugely full of my parents' love and care for me, but the details are hazy.


Then we lived in a duplex on Franklin Street that had a basement for my dad to build projects plus a sidewalk that led around the corner to Dave's house. The sidewalk had uneven spots that led to Band-aids, but the Dalai Lama says suffering is inevitable, and Bishop Tutu emphasizes love and human connections are essential for finding joy.

Not because of climate change, but the snow is always deeper in one's memory. We cannot deny the photo evidence of my brother Roger who shall remain nameless in a typical winter accumulation. Our new house was not a palace. Three bedrooms and one bath, all indoors, a GI Bill wonder! What was the threat level of my mom's pressure cooker? Dad studied fallout shelter design. It was the Cold War with snow pants. Did we fantasize about adding on another bedroom and bath? You bet. 1293 sq ft was a tad too cozy and short on privacy, but a family of five could be really happy there.

Skipping over college and early married life apartments, we arrive at the 974 square foot mansion with pink kitchen appliances and a mildewy basement. It looks pretty depressing in this current Google street view, but it was big enough for two small boys to have a diaper car race course.

Next we had a house big enough for horse races in the living room and birthday parties in the kitchen. Zillow alleges 1476 square feet, obviously an alternative fact. This house seemed huge. Our lack of furniture added to the spacious feel of the place. We could build a fire, pitch a tent, and go camping in the living room.

Our first rental house in Oklahoma looked out across a creek and a big field of nothing but rodents and hawks making lazy circles in the sky. The kitchen was plenty big for an artist to paint while covered in calamine lotion recovering from chicken pox. Three bedroom, two bath with a great room open floor plan. There was no real way to arrange the furniture, and the invading mice tweeted all night. 


The next house did not have a sporty red car when we lived there. It had over 1700 square feet, snakes in the garage, and not a single tree on the lot. It housed Cub Scouts, Ghostbusters, Boomer Sooners, and a computer. Asthma,  allergies, and anxiety filled this house. It seemed very cramped. But it had mauve wallpaper, and the bigamist next door had another family in Louisiana.

Everything's bigger in Texas. We made it past 2200 square feet, with four bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a great U-shaped kitchen plan. AND  two really nice trees. There was a small back patio for roasting marshmallows, and a sunken living room  for watching the Branch Davidian compound burn on t.v. If we needed more space we could go west playing "Oregon Trail."


How much space does a family need? Enough room for survival? For hobbies? Beginners practicing tooting large band instuments? For large reptiles? This condo of 1200 sq. ft. plus or minus seemed emotionally vast if physically cramped. 

So, there was a point to all this. The question of how big is big enough for a house has a major emotional component as well as practical considerations.

What is the psychological component behind an obsession with a big enough popular vote that makes one holler "fraud." Is it a personal reaction? Or is it a plan to bamboozle a population into acquiescing the loss of convenient voter registration and balloting?

This nation is our house. It's cozy. It's a bit cramped, but plenty big if we avoid the distorted sizes and numbers, threats and frauds. Reason makes things roomier.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder

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