My idea for this post on the tiny house movement and building social infrastructure for it took a few twists and turns before it became the finished product you’re about to read.
Something that Dee said really stuck with me, though I imagine that most just let the statement go by.
She said, “the relationships that I have developed by living small have really surprised me. All of a sudden I’ve got a different relationship with the sun, I’ve got a different relationship to my friends, a different relationship with the food co-op, and the library and the Laundromat and all of these spaces and resources that I don’t think I put too much thought into before and now all of a sudden those people and places they make my life possible and they give me a sense of home.”
I started thinking about how I have had a very similar experience. Since moving into the tiny house, my life revolves around even more social activities than it did when we lived in an apartment.
We make an effort to leave our mountain several times a week. One of our favorite hangout spots is Bar of Soap, a Laundromat bar here in Asheville. Every time I go in there I think “what a great freaking idea!”
Even in our house or the apartment, I hated doing laundry. I hated folding laundry. I would let the clean, dry clothes sit in baskets until I needed to pull them out and wear them again.
Going to Bar of Soap made me look forward to laundry. We get to hang out with people we’ve gotten to know and drink delicious craft beer and the chore goes by surprisingly quick.
Then I heard this story on NPR and it made me think about Dee’s words and what they really mean.
In the story, sociologist Eric Klinenberg suggests that social infrastructure in the wake of natural or man-made disasters may be the key to better survival.
As I understand his premise, when we isolate ourselves we are cutting off a very important part of what it means to be human.
We are intended to be social creatures and by being social in good times we create a community that is there in bad times. This is why communities should have festivals and celebrations and be there for each other.
Just this weekend, Matt and I found ourselves very much a part of this kind of community.
A week ago we entered a raffle for a New Belgium Brewery Fat Tire bicycle. We were told it was to benefit a local bike rider who had been hit by a car.
He had to have extensive medical care and they were raising money for him. We bought one $5.00 raffle ticket.
On Saturday Matt got a call from the bike shop and he had won the raffle. While we were there we gave some more money to donate to the medical bills.
This was community in action and it made us feel great about choosing this city as our home.
I realized that tiny houses and proposed tiny house communities, such as Jay Shafer’s Napoleon Complex or the mini tiny house community idea that Alex shared right here at THT, could be a catalyst to re-discovering these kinds of communities.
And think about the example of the Laundromat or even the bike shop. Not only do they provide a resource for people like us but we are also supporting local businesses, like Bar of Soap and Beer City Bicycles in Asheville, that are very much a part of the community.