I had to ride Annalise’s bike home from school this afternoon. She had band practice, so I was left to tuck my huge self onto a child’s sized Schwinn and propel myself forward. As I comically rolled along the back streets of Temecula, it occurred to me how cookie-cutter our society has become. Our homes all look the same. We all pay a fortune for highlights. And thin eyebrows. And high, pre-baby boobs that are never comfortable to lie on, ever again.
In the book ‘The Distinctive Home’ by Jeremiah Eck, he too laments our society’s cookie-cutter approach to home building in the twenty-first century, remarking that the homes being built now “…face the road like soldiers in formation, their garages competing with the house for your attention.”
He ponders what archaeologists will surmise about our culture years from now, when mere remnants of garage doors stand at attention along asphalt corridors. “If Mt. Vesuvius were to erupt in a typical suburban neighborhood, freezing it in time, what might people say about the houses 1,000 years from now? For one thing, they might wonder why so many of the houses faced the road. Was the view of cars going by that exciting? …the only room that would make perfect sense would be the garage, considering how tethered suburban lives are to the automobile.”
Now that I’m out of the car and onto the Schwinn, it seems to me that we need to return to the days of the front porch. Where have they all gone? It’s true that no one wants to sit and watch cars zoom by. But me – Little Red – on a bike? Come on, who doesn’t want to stop and chat with me? Obviously not my teenage son, who crossed to the other side of the road when he saw me approaching this afternoon.
But surely someone wants to sit on an honest-to-goodness front porch and wave to me as I roll on by. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
So, do I have any takers? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?