If you were around in the 1970s, you probably had the experience of going to a restaurant and, after your salad or whatever was placed before you, a waiter came over with a giant pepper mill offering you fresh ground pepper. And, no doubt, you were so intrigued by this odd offer that you accepted having no idea of the results.
Now you are probably wondering “What does this have to do with housing”. Well, everything, but give me a moment to explain. I am one of the zillions of people who have replaced my good old standard pepper shaker with a pepper mill. I have probably owned my current pepper mill for about 7 years. It has only recently occurred to me how often I run out of pepper corns and how every time I go to buy them I
complain to myself about the price. At the market today, I have once again found myself in that situation and opted for a can of good old fashioned ground black pepper. Is there a difference in taste? Well, probably to the most discerning palate, which I do not have. I put pepper on my food purely for the aesthetics. The little black specs somehow makes whatever I am eating look more appealing. But more importantly is this question: at what point did freshly ground pepper from a mill become the norm in our kitchens?
I grew up in a house where at least 7 people shared a bathroom. (Eventually, another long overdue powder room was added). And in my 39 years of marriage, I realized recently that my husband and I never lived anywhere with more than one bathroom (something I do hope to remedy soon). Now I realize this is an extreme example because it is certainly reasonable to want more than one bathroom in a home. But when I am watching these TV shows where people are looking to relocate, what has become “normal” seems almost ridiculous. Here are some things that pop up often on peoples’ request list: a bathroom for each child, a designated “guest suite” (I wonder how often people visit and stay overnight), closets that are larger than some houses I have seen, separate rooms/spaces for almost any activity in which an individual can engage (exercise room, TV room, a music room, a play room, craft rooms, a room for the pets, and storage. Must have storage). Of course people convert vacant bedrooms into some of these uses but that is not what I am talking about. That is simply making better use of a space that no longer serves its original purpose. Many people do work from home so making a spare bedroom into an office or studio makes sense. Even retired people tend to continue with some form of their life’s work and may need a space at home since they no longer go to an office.
Again I ask, when did reasonable requests for what was normal in a house become replaced with the excessive? More space often equates to more stuff and I continuously hear people complain about how much “stuff” they have.
So I am getting off the pepper- mill -go- round to reconsider if more of the new normal really makes any sense for me. But I still want that second bathroom!