Not enough room to swing a cat, or anything

Tiny houses have become quite the fad of late. But while small things may at first appear cute and desirable, David Loughrey can see problems with the concept.

You might be talking.

You might be talking in a tiny house.You would, of course, be talking to a maximum of one person.

The conversation might have turned to something you care passionately about, for instance the study of historic tropes in medieval poetry.

Then someone says something slightly silly; something you know is wrong and must be countered, something offensive to people who think like you do on the matter.

Something ignorant.

There is silence.

Your brain spins for a moment, desperately searching for the facts you know are at your disposal to not just counter the argument, but once and for all metaphorically cast that person to the floor where they will cower in the face of your vastly superior level of correctness.

Images flash up, vague strings of bewildering words present themselves, unrelated facts stagger and trip over each other, but then, over there, somewhere on the left side of your brain, a rational line of reasoning starts forming from the thick mist of perplexity.

You launch into perhaps the best speech of your life; it begins with a quick background of the opposing argument, its raises pertinent questions, it calmly and assuredly eviscerates your opponent’s reasoning then slowly proceeds to a crescendo of finely tuned logic, and as you reach your peak, your voice triumphantly raised, singing deep and throaty with irrefutable proof that you are right, right, right, you stand and throw your arms akimbo as you prepare to deliver the death blow, and whack! — you dislocate both your wrists when they thunder full speed into the walls that are only centimetres away in any direction.

You can’t gesticulate wildly in a tiny house.You might have come home from the golf course.

You might have come home from the golf course where the golf pro has given you a quick lesson that you are sure will improve your short game.

The lesson was simple, merely concentrate on stomach and sternum, use the body to guide the arms through the swing, keep your eyes on the ball, soft hands, and all that stuff.

You have sneaked your sand wedge inside.

You play the stroke in your head, but golf is a physical game, a game remembered by the body not the mind.

You get up and pace a little, one step in one direction, one step in the other (that’s all the room you have), then you pick up the club, and give it a tiny swing, just a little one, a half swing to allow your body to remember the fruits of the lesson.

Perhaps you could do a slighter bigger swing; it’s a tiny house after all, not a microscopic house.

You shift your weight to your left leg, bend just a little at the knees, quiet your mind, remember to start the backswing with just a gentle shift of the body.

You draw the club back, remembering to keep everything smooth and controlled.

The club, at first gently, then quicker and quicker, heads to the ceiling, and as the body remembers, the mind forgets any thoughts of restraint and the club launches into a full and lusty backswing, tearing through the ceiling, hooking its head round the live electrical wires that lead to a mean little tiny house light bulb as the electrical current rockets down the shaft like a sliver of volatile chaos before ripping through the arm muscles that hold the implement of destruction.

The downswing is involuntary.

Spitting plywood, wires, glass and a shower of hissing sparks, the club rips downward and through the floor, rupturing gas lines and foul sewer pipes that pump the most hideous miasma into a cramped space that allows no ventilation, and the whole bonds and sparks and explodes in a violent detonation, a tempest, a devastation, as all that was built turns to dust.

You can’t practise your golf swing in a tiny house.

There might be two of you.

There might be two of you who once knew so fully the dizzying intoxication of new love, the softened melding of satin bodies, the urgency of a hungering lust, the addiction of the other, the sweat and tears and tender words that know only the certainty that all this will last for eternity; till death.

But as stars burn white hot before collapsing into black holes, as embers flare red then die, so love dims from a sumptuous scarlet to at best a misty blue as time passes so slowly but oh, so surely.

Then minor irritations creep in.

Resource wars begin, minor niggles at first, then more anxious conflicts kept hidden under the surface that spark now and then into full scale disputes.

Of course the major resource in a tiny space is just that; space.

Who can have what when space is at a premium, who can keep what and who must curb their desire for even the meagre collection of sentimental belongings that those in mean spaces can own?

It starts with a trifle, a coat hook that will take no more coats, a shoe box of trinkets you agreed would be disposed of, a disparity of shoe numbers in a tiny closet.

Then the claustrophobia kicks in.

It begins as a sharp frustration like a child’s tantrum unleashed in the pit of your stomach.

That tantrum rips upward through your viscera, it constricts your lungs and clutches at your throat, it leads your self control on a merry dance and loosens your tongue to spit a string of bitter words.

The very air turns to ice as eyes narrow and nostrils flare, as upper lips curl in atavistic rage, teeth bared as the walls close in and the ceiling bears down to lock you in a close coffin of misery.

The one response, the only response, is to flounce out and slam the door in a rage, locking yourself in another room and refusing to come out until showered with apologies offered up in a flood of remorse.

But there is no door, and there is no other room.

So you sit in the company of someone you wouldn’t vomit on if they were consumed with the sort of fire only such an action would relieve.

You turn away and stare broken and sick with rage at a wall that is only centimetres away from your face.

And you have learned a lesson.

You can’t go to another room and slam the door in rage in a tiny house. 


Men with the nickname 'Tiny' are actually 'Lofty' (Bloomfield).



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