RE: "Gawkers" at cohousing communities (FWD)
From: Jean Pfleiderer (pfleiderer_jWIZARD.COLORADO.EDU)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 95 17:29 CST
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>From: Rob Sandelin <robsan [at]>
>Subject: RE: "Gawkers" at cohousing communities (FWD)
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>Actually what is different is probably somewhere in our upbringings or 
>some other place where attitudes about visiting are instilled.  I did 
>not mean to imply that Winslow would have a problem with me walking 
>around. I actually do not know if they have any sort of policy about 
>it.  What I said was I would feel .....  That comes from me, not them.  
>I was taught and I guess feel pretty strongly still that visiting 
>someone's home who you do not know without an invitation is rude 
>behavior. I do not visit even my friends unless I call first.  Its just 
>one of those value things I guess.   My feeling, based I suppose on my 
>values, is that uninvited visitors to Sharingwood, who are walking 
>around in people yards and walkways, playing in the playground, peering 
>into windows of houses (this has happened) are being rude. Those are my 
>feelings and do not represent anything else.  Sorry if it came across I 
>was trying to speak for Sharingwood or anybody else.

Actually, Rob, I think you are right that people do have different values
about these things.  It seems to me that people wandering around in what are
in fact the community's common areas are understandable, simply because it
may not be obvious to them that this is "private property" in the usual
sense of that term.  Walking through people's yards where it is obvious that
that's what they are, peering in windows (that's happened at Nyland, too)
does seem inexcusable to me, too.  Just as, taking a walk down a public
street in Boulder I wouldn't think it okay to trample someone's roses so I
could look into their
study.  But there are ranges on these issues and while most people would
find the behavior I just
described abnormal, to say the least (indeed, one could be arrested for it),
many would not find walking on a sidewalk looking about at the homes and
gardens around one abnormal, nor allowing one's children to play on what
appeared to be a common playground.  This country has had a pretty
black-and-white notion of property; either its private, meaning belonging to
an individual and his/her immediate family, or its public.  The shades of
gray will no doubt escape quite a few people.

The thing about "dropping in" unannounced is definitely a cultural thing,
too.  When I was a kid, people did that sometimes, but they sure don't much
any more.  Nonetheless, I have friends who might drop in on me unannounced,
and that would be okay with me; I wouldn't want them to feel they had to
call ahead so that if someone on the pedestrian way accosted them, they
could explain that they were "expected".

Well, these are the interesting little anomalies we all get to explore as
cohousers, eh?


Jean Pfleiderer
Publications Specialist III
University Management Systems
University of Colorado

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