TARA COLLUM | Contributing columnist
The high school year book committee asked us what we were looking forward to in the future — and they published my answer.
I was looking forward to doing laundry in the laundromat.
My parents always had a washer and dryer and all I had to do to clean my clothes was walk down stairs to the laundry room. But to me, being an independent adult meant going to the laundromat. An experience romanticized as an adult rite of passage from episodes of Friends to gum commercials.
I was a little bit low-key obsessed with the Gravenhurst laundromat and its sky-blue sign, and still remember when they painted it a darker green.
Doing my laundry at a laundromat was fun at first, and lately a way to get out of my apartment during quarantine.
But now, unfortunately, I still do my laundry at the laundromat. It’s on the end of my street, and there’s no shame in my laundry game, carting my dollar store laundry bin down the sidewalk. It’s a very common sight in my neighbourhood.
But how bad do I want a washer and dryer? Enough to buy a whole house or a condominium just to have one? Is it worth the utility bill?
Something that is more of a necessity than a luxury, is having outdoor space, which in the city gives you a tiny postage stamp back yard even if you are a millionaire, or if you’re lucky a balcony.
The only private outdoor space I’ve had since living in the city was a beautiful back deck, which I quickly couldn’t use because it was overrun by a family of raccoons that would just not leave. It was soon their balcony. They would do their business in a giant pot, but if we trapped and released them, they would return with a vengeance and deposit their scat right in front of the back door. Trash pandas are very vindictive.
The lack of personal outdoor space can be overcome by exploring parks, green spaces, and with creative thinking.
It is possible for example to garden in the city. There are many community gardens and patches. There are many types of vegetables and herbs you can grow that will thrive in a windowsill container garden.
The housing crisis that has gripped the province — indeed many parts of the world — has left home ownership out of reach for many like me.
It’s forcing us all to re-evaluate where and how we want to live and the reality that young people may not be able to afford the type of dwelling they might have grown up in.
According to the CBC News, the three most expensive cities in North America are Vancouver, Toronto, and Hamilton. Um, pardon me.
Hold the phone here. The Hammer? An industrial city known for its datedly smoggy factory-polluted air and being the home of the first Tim Horton’s?
To be fair, Steeltown does also have beautiful waterfalls. Moving east to Hamilton has always been one of my safety cities. A place to maybe one day settle, as a realistic city to own a home.
But now, to put things in perspective, Hamilton is a more expensive place to live than Montreal, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York City?
A new generation might have to re-evaluate what they consider their dream home.
We’re being presented with wistful alternatives like living off the grid, in a tiny house as seen on HGTV, or working remotely and traveling the open road in a van.
These are presented as attainable lifestyles by social media influencers, but they are not a reasonable choice for many people.
What amounts to basically living in your car isn’t for everyone. And you are more likely to park for the night in a Walmart parking lot, than wake up to an Instagrammable moment.
Things are changing, and rapidly, but as a time of Thanksgiving it’s important to appreciate what we have.
To be grateful for now, and not always wish for the impossible or the unattainable we might be able to have some day.
If our basic needs are met, and we have friends and family to share a meal with, we have all we truly need.