Our bedding, hanging to dry off our back balcony.
Yesterday, while listening to CJAD, local radio personality Ric Peterson was animating a discussion on the use of clothes lines. His wife wants one, he does not, claiming that they are an “eyesore.” He invited listeners to call in and give their opinion on the issue. I was surprised to hear so many in agreement with him and with the idea that they should be banned. One listener was quite pleased to be living in area where they are simply not allowed.
This offends me on deeply personal level. In the realm of household chores, there is little that is more sensible than hanging your clothing to dry. It reduces your power bills and is better for the environment. It’s what I grew up with and yet, somewhere between my childhood and now, someone came along and and declared the sight of clothes lines to be “ugly.”
There is something disturbing about the mentality that seems to come with certain types of communities: doors cannot be painted certain colours, lawns must be maintained a certain way, campers aren’t allowed in the driveway, and clothes aren’t allowed to be hung on a line. All of these things seem to force someone’s idea of what a perfect neighbourhood should be.
Neighbourhoods, no matter where you find them, are by nature messy places. One person lets his lawn grow wild because he doesn’t believe in grooming it. Another neighbour has more gnomes than you’ve ever seen. Another guy painted his garage door like a giant Greek flag during the last World Cup. Another house needs paint but hasn’t gotten it down because Dad’s been out of work for the last six months. And another neighbour’s cat took a dump in your flowerbed.
Somewhere along the line, someone saw these quirks of neighbourhood life and declared them to be problems that needed correction. And so bylaws were created for new housing developments and neighbourhoods were built that tried to keep everything the same as much as possible.
Suddenly, people are fighting for the things they took for granted before. Now obviously clothes lines may not be practical for every neighbourhood or housing, but the idea that you’d actually have to justify it just strikes me as so wrong somehow.
A municipality that places so many restrictions on what you can do in your own home says that you’re not living in a neighbourhood at all but rather a collection of investments and your house is not a home but just a shiny box with all your possessions locked inside.