The Contentious Uncle

I tend to keep my plans secret. Which is probably why I enjoy keeping this pseudo-anonymous blog in order to articulate my ideas to myself and vent a little bit. – As well as to reach out to the like-minded among me.

I keep my plans secret because, since they are at odds with the normal course of how people go about things, I tend to get a lot backlash from people who prefer to be in the mainstream. If I encounter someone like-minded or if I am really pushed for my plans for the future, I’ll tell. But I do so reluctantly and cautiously, because I know many people don’t like to hear about others who choose to do things differently than they do. It forces them to think about their own decisions and that can be disquieting for someone who has never tried it.

When they hear of your plans rather than join in your excitement, or ask about the details, they offer criticism and doubt. I have an uncle, he is about fifteen years my senior and he and I could not be more different when it comes to ideas about money, ethics and how to live day to day. He is a home-builder who constructs the McMansions that dot our landscapes. He puts no thought towards passive solar design, artistry or sustainability. Consequently the monstrosities he builds require massive active air conditioning and heating. The homes are huge, even by McMansion standards. The amount of time building extra-space takes away from the time that could have been put towards constructing a long-lasting, well-designed, beautiful structure.

His customers too, buy into the entire operation. Their biggest concern is square footage (the more the better) and the color of the vinyl siding. It isn’t until they have lived in the thing for a number of years, the novelty has worn off, and the heating and cooling bills keep coming in that they realize what a giant pile of junk they have moved themselves into. They realize they can’t step out onto their massive deck because the morons built it on the south side of the house with zero shade and it’s 115 degrees out there all summer long. They have to squint through any movies they watch because no thought was put into the position of the windows and where the sun would be in the early evening when they actually want to sit down to watch something. And they have to descend two or three flights of stairs hauling laundry back and forth because nobody thought to put the laundry room anywhere near where they store their clothes.

They took the maximum mortgage any bank would sign off on so now, because of their massive monthly obligation, they can’t afford original art work, beautifully crafted furniture, or time to enjoy it. But who needs that when you have three rooms you haven’t even stepped into in over a month, all filled with mass-produced plastic furniture from China?

“I know it’s too big, but it’s about the resale value!” They will protest to me. Of course, it only holds any resale value because some other moron is going to come along who thinks his life is valued based upon how much square footage of this earth he can close off from the elements.

My uncle thinks I’m an out-of-touch idealist and I’ll come around to see the “real world” at some point. Apparently that’s when I’ll become enlightened and see the importance of 9,000 sq ft homes, 4 car garages and taking out loans to buy everything. If only he could see that he is the one who is so buried under piles of worthless possessions, so burdened by property and debt, and so hypnotically enthralled by some kind of empty-status he hopes to someday achieve. – He’d realize that if either of us is living in a fantasy-land, surely it’s him.

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