The Washington Post

There’s something the matter with houses

There’s something the matter with houses. Probably you don’t agree with that. I think I may be alone in this opinion, but it could make an interesting three paragraphs anyway.

I don’t like being cold or wet or uncomfortable any more than you do, but I’ve never really liked being indoors. I can sit in a chair in a nice room and mostly what I feel is trapped. I keep trying to think of how to escape. Then I think about how I would redesign a house that I would be comfortable in. I think the loss of the fire as the the central feature of an indoor space may be part of it. (Obviously I’m talking about the winter here. In the summer you can fling the door open and run out!) I think people may be programmed to gather around a fire. And that same fire should have a pot of stew on it, bubbling. See where we’ve gone wrong here? We split the cooking fire off from the living space fire, then we put the living space fire out.

Then we replaced the living space fire with a TV. I used to watch a lot of TV. Then I realized it made me feel stupid and drained, so I stopped watching. When I stopped watching my life got a lot more interesting, because I started filling the time with other things. But the house issue remains. I think houses now are designed around a TV. This is being replaced to some extent by other communications technology, but I mostly feel the same way about those. So somebody make a house with a cooking fire in the living space, and I’ll buy that and try it out. This is maybe a very good idea, or maybe it’s just December talking, with its miserly little days that I so detest.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.


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