I am fascinated by this cultural obsession with tiny houses. It seems like everyone is talking about some tiny house they saw on tv that had a built-in sauna and BDSM chamber. Tiny houses pop up in my Facebook feed daily. Hell, I even think if I become a famous screenwriter/humorist/standup comedian/trophy wife I will forego my dreams of a fortress with a moat and crocodiles to build a tiny house.
I applaud those who are legitimately joining this movement as a rejection of commercialism and desire to minimize their carbon footprint. I support that goal. As I’ve mentioned before, I went to the hippie law school with composting toilets amid a cult of Al Gore groupies. (See here) My cynical side just thinks people are tired of cleaning up all their clutter and crap in their big house, and one day just say, “That’s it. We’re selling the kids to gypsies, putting the flatscreen tv on Craigslist, and buying an air mattress to sleep on a shelf over the sink.”
Another theory is that tiny houses are such a fad in the U.S. right now because they are more practical for entertaining than a cardboard refrigerator box from the Lowe’s dumpster. A 400 square foot house on wheels is the new American dream for millions of Americans. I imagine it will be at least 8-10 years before the minimum wage can only buy you a deluxe cardboard box. Or maybe, if you’re lucky, by then Ikea will figure out how to package a 150 square foot house that you can put together with dowels and an Allen wrench, but that would be lacking the skylights of the cardboard box.
I think if you really pressed people, they would tell you the real reason they want a tiny house—and this is why I want one—because they hate people. I think for the most part, society has become much more annoying in the last decade and I think it is more Zen to just escape from the madness. Seriously, this is a dream home for a recluse. I could afford to not work full time just to pay a mortgage or rent. No annoying coworkers! No road rage inducing commute! No need to go to the mall because there’s nowhere to keep your new junk! I could write all day, and live there with my dog and a couple of pygmy goats. As a side income to my writing, I could post videos of my goats doing adorably goaty things like jumping on trampolines or synchronized swimming. I could park my tiny house in the middle of the woods without having neighbors complaining about my goats. I’d have no nosy neighbor in my business about dating younger men. I wouldn’t have an annoying neighbor burning a fire pit every night so I can’t open the windows. It sounds like heaven.
But I do question the wisdom of having your house on wheels. While it seems practical, I can’t help but wonder if it would be a tornado magnet like a trailer park. It probably costs three times as much as a trailer and that seems worrisome if it is a tornado magnet. Plus being in the middle of nowhere there is also concern about where to hide the goats and dog if a tornado warning occurred, and I’m sure my closest neighbor that I have no interest in conversing with would not give me shelter. Unless it is in Canada or Sweden, because they are genuinely nice people, even to rude Americans. So I think I would take the wheels off just in case. And it would make more sense when I build the moat. But I’d have to get rid of the crocodiles, because, well, goats.