Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mutterings Mighty, Minor and Mini Mincing Much of Matters Minimal

On a recent visit to Lewes, Delaware, I met in person a friend of my friend Ron, whose name is Pat. In the photo on the left the two look-a-likes to my right are Pat and Ron. I realize they could easily pass for brothers, but they aren't. Pat is from Canada and planning to move down to Sussex County sometime this year.

There are several interesting things about Pat, but one that has brought him some notice and fame up in Toronto is his house.

He has been written up in articles; in fact, has written an article to two himself, concerning this structure. He has even been featured on a TV show about unique homes. Click here for the TV visit. Pat's home follows one made of straw.

Unique looking it certainly is. It has this ski-jump little roof and those three elongated windows down the front. It is certainly far from the many McMansions that appeared all over the landscape around my parts during the former housing boom. It is compact, simple, yet pleasing and has a fashionably slim figure.

But it isn't really the look of the building that is the story here. It is the stuff inside or lack thereof.
Here is Pat's entry, Living, dining and kitchen area. This must be a somewhat older photograph because it is far less cluttered than when visited by the host of that TV show I mentioned. That bulking desk is gone. Now there is a sort of fold out desk built into the side wall, looking a bit like the deposit and withdrawal slip containers by a bank entrance. It slides open to reveal his trusty laptop computer and other useful tools.

The kitchen, which you see on the right, contains an oven/range, sink and refrigerator. The stove and sink each disappear under cover to become simply a long counter, the faucet sliding down flush. The refrigerator is also under the counter and about the size of the frat-boy beer cooler I have in my office here. (No beer, I fear, just chocolate milk, ice tea and a variety of "sody-pop". I guess one simplification in my life is being a teetotaler.)

His bedroom is basically a balcony up an open staircase. And yes, the bed folds out of sight into the wall. The footprint of this home if 566 square feet.

You see among other things, Pat is a minimalist. (He is also a Vegan, but no one is perfect.)

My middle child, daughter Number 2, is also a minimalist and probably pretty good competition. (She is a Vegetarian.) This is her apartment pictured on the right. It would not be so full of stuff if not for the toys and things for her two cats.

So what is a minimalist? Is it someone suffering from claustrophobia?

Well, one definition is "one who favors restricting the functions and powers of a political organization or government."  By that definition I am a minimalist. 

Another definition is "a person who favors a moderate approach to the achievement of a set of goals or who holds minimal expectations for the success of a program." I am not that and I know my daughter isn't and I doubt Pat is either. I favor a realistic approach to achievement, but I hold optimistic expectations of high success. I think it is better to sometimes fall a bit short than to start out with a goal of underachievement.

The applicable term for minimalist here is restricting our possessions to what is necessary. What we might feel is necessary to a pleasant life might vary, of course. I am, to tell the truth, a minimalist at heart. I would not go so far to say I would like to pack all my belongings into a backpack like Andrew
Hyde, but I have been working to reduce the clutter of my life.

"Yeah," you say, " it don't look so empty behind you in those photos that pop up now and again!"

True, but what is in this little 9 x 11 room is most of what are my personal belongings, and some of them may go. I'd be rid of the racks of CDs since I have all my music in iTunes now, except my wife prefers the CDs. Yes, there are other rooms and they have furniture and pictures on the walls and knickknacks and stuff, but remember I'm not a singular man. My wife and daughter live with me and they aren't necessarily of a minimalist mind. Most of what is in this place I consider theirs. I have tossed most of what was mine away.

What you see mostly in this room are books. Maybe one of these days I'll donate these to the library, as I did many of my other books. A few years ago my personal library contained over 5,000 volumes and the downstairs was lined along every wall with shelves to hold them.  Those shelves and the contents are all gone now along with most everything that was in the area with them.

My bed isn't in here, but it could be if my wife and I ever choose not to sleep in the same room. She has the real bed, I sleep on a futon, which folds up.

You can see I minimized my hair.

I donated most of my clothes a couple years ago as well. I don't have much of a wardrobe. I wear these gray workout pants most the winter. They are nice and warm. My other winter wear consists of a couple of sweatshirts, a couple hoodies and a couple coats. I have a pair of black jeans, a pair of kakis and a pair of black slacks. I have a number of T-shirts, which I wear all year. In summer I trade the workout pants for shorts. I don't own a suit anymore and very few shoes. (Left, with Pat in Rehoboth.) Oh, I do own a hat because I can't see outside in sunlight without it because of an eye condition.

I saw in 2012 that life was not things when I had to clean out my parents home. Ninety plus years of gathering objects and in the end you know what was left of their possessions? Nothing but the photographs.

I have in this room what I use, my computer, my Bibles, my little refrigerator and those records we all must keep. The white binders in the background of my photograph are the books I've written over time, though I still have a dozen more to bind up. I'll keep those.

 I agree, Pat, things are shackles on our freedom and living. I really am of a minimalist mind.

But I ain't goin' Vegan!


Ron said...

Excellent post Lar! I sent a link to Pat. He would approve. Now lets talk vegan.


Anonymous said...

Cool post! And I agree! Vegetables are what FOOD EATS!

Peace <3

pat888 said...

Hey Larry - you truly have a talent for writing. Very well put and with a pinch of humour every so often. I am truly flattered. Thanks again Larry - and was terrific meeting you. Take care. Pat

pat888 said...

Hey Larry - you truly have the talent for writing. This piece was so enjoyable to read and fun with the humour you sprinkled it with. I am flattered. Also it was so nice to have met you in person.