December 03, 2011

Are you like your house?

It's an old saying the some people look like their dogs, but I wonder how many people are like their houses?

I recently noticed how well my house reflects me - in summary, it is colourful and interesting, but often a bit messy.

Like me, it has a rather unusual history, despite looking pretty ordinary on the outside. It also has some entertaining quirks which are apparent only on closer acquaintance, and it has an unquestionably broad outlook.

But ... also like me, some areas are best ignored, it would certainly benefit from a lot more organisation, and there is always a long list of things which need fixing or improving, a list which never seems to get any shorter. Similarly, as with my own experiences, people either like it or scorn it, but they usually remember it.

On the other hand:

  • I know tidy, compact people who have houses with the same characteristics. Both they and their houses are neat, orderly, well-organised, clean, and well-maintained.
  • Other people and their houses are larger, rambling, slightly dishevelled, but comfortable and welcoming. They often have children all over the place.
  • Some houses and their owners are luxuriously appointed, with every modern accessory and convenience. Perhaps a little ostentatious in proclaiming their success, but frequently admired and envied.
  • Dark and mysterious houses often have similar owners - a bit threatening and possibly even dangerous. Forbidding appearances, largely hidden activities, often with lots of highly-visible protection.
  • Down-on-their-luck houses and owners frequently look unkempt, don't care about appearances, let everything just hang out, don't clean up, and are often a source of great annoyance for those nearby.
  • Houses and owners with aspirations to a better life often try too hard. Everything is just a little too well thought out, a bit false, somewhat incongruous. Perhaps even a little jarring or grating, even if we don't quite know why. They make us feel a bit uncomfortable, as if we are seeing more than they might wish.

  • A (thankfully) few people and their houses are so flamboyant, boastful and generally over-the-top that it is impossible to admire them, and very easy to ridicule. I'm sure they know and hate that, but too bad.

  • And finally, there's the reassuringly ordinary house and owner. One with no pretensions, no surprises, no fancy ideas - just solid, dependable, familiar, and safe. They don't make us feel inadequate or judgemental. They are just there, comfortable and welcoming, whenever we feel like visiting. If we know such people and houses, we are lucky.
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