Kevin left for a two-week road trip today. I woke up to an empty house. Made me think about how much space we are used to having in our American lives of comfort.
My mother’s family in Kolkata live humbly, even by Indian standards — in dilapidated rented homes, without running hot water or modern bathroom facilities. My mother’s brother’s family still occupies a once-grand and ancient, the same one in which my mother spent her childhood years. They were times she held onto in adulthood, especially after a massive stroke left her bound to a wheelchair.
The plaster is crumbling; during the monsoon, the rain intrudes. The rooms are tiny. It’s not uncommon for a family of five to inhabit a 400 square foot apartment. Think how it must be for the poor and their burgeoning populations in India’s vast bastis.
The average American house size has more than doubled since the 1950s and now stands at 2,349 square feet. That’s more than any other country in the world.
I am sipping my coffee and feeling alone in my Victorian space. And feeling guilty that I should have the privilege of feeling so.