Sunday, May 20, 2012

Life Lesson, Edited For Time ...

I can multitask.

For example, last night, I was lying on my couch and judging the people on the television.

I was watching "House Hunters" – I almost didn't have to mention that part, huh? – and the couple in question was downsizing because the husband lost his job at a bank.

I wasn't judging the job loss. I've been there. It's an awful feeling.

And I wasn't judging the decision to downsize. That is a practical, grown-up response.

I was judging that they were downsizing from a 7,500-square-foot home into about 3,500 square feet.

Oh, poor babies.

I spoke sternly to my television: "Do you know how many people in this world never live in 3,500 square feet? Do you know how many people live six or 10 to a room and are grateful just to have a roof over their heads?"

Clearly, the existence of absurd shows and specials like "Million Dollar Rooms" and "Million Dollar Closets" are getting on my nerves.

They saw three homes, as all couples on "House Hunters" do, and I was sure – sure, sure, sure – that they would pick the third house, because it was the most "done," because it was the most like the space they were leaving behind. "Because they're shallow," I said to my TV.

But no. They picked the first house. Well, knock me over with a feather.

As the doorbell dinged at the end of the show and viewers checked in with them two months later, a little bit of my faith in humanity was restored. They were happy in the new home, they said (and it seemed real, not something a producer instructed them to say), they were closer, they spent more time together. Yup, that'll happen in a smaller space. When each kid doesn't have a cavernous bedroom to call their own, they might actually hang out in the common areas of the house. Yes, even with the renovations they were planning, they were able to find happiness for about $400,000. And they genuinely seemed better for it. Yes, they discovered, home is about being together, not square footage.

Now maybe they can have a chat with the people who think they can't live without a million-dollar closet.

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