Re: Commonhouse: Hanging Out
From: John Greene (greenelowemindspring.com)
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 08:17:16 -0600 (MDT)

    Here at Lake Claire Cohousing in Atlanta, which has been occupied for
four years now, we've been disappointed that there isn't more casual hanging
out in the Common House.  Everyone goes in and out every day for laundry and
mail, and there are dinners, birthday parties, sings, and so forth, but
rarely does anyone just hang around there.  I think the problem, in our
case, is that there isn't much there. 

    * There's no fireplace, which would draw us down there in the winter.  

    * There's no "electronic fireplace."  There's been an ongoing
controversy about whether there should be a TV in the common house, and
we've yet to reach any agreement on that, so there's never been one.  Some
of us feel that if one were available at least for big events (Academy
Awards, World Series, etc.) or for shows that many people watch separately
at home, then that would lead to more hanging out.  But other folks worry
that it would get out of hand.

    * There's no telephone, which means, for those of us still backwards
enough not to have cell phones, that no one can reach us when we're at the
Common House.  Nice in many ways, of course, but if you have kids, aging
parents, or just phone calls you're expecting, you want to at least have a
phone nearby.

    * Our common house, for specific site reasons, is also at the end of the
site, so that many of us cannot look out our windows and see what's going on
there.  I've always imagined that more centrally-located CHs have more
hanging out, but perhaps that's not true.

    * I suppose another problem is simply that folks don't casually "hang
out" much even at home.  Everybody's so damn busy.  I think one of the
things we've found is that cohousing, though wonderful in so many ways, has
not actually slowed down or simplified our lives as we somehow imagined it
would.  

    Anyway, that's my take on our situation.  There's lots of great stuff
here, I hasten to add, but the hanging-in-the-common-house factor has
definitely been missing.


John Greene
Lake Claire Cohousing
Atlanta

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