Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Heart Renting

Steve Almond in about home ownership:

How vastly overrated and costly and crazy-making an enterprise it turns out to be.


I was assured by the panting chorus of fellow homeowners who take it upon themselves to advise you in such situations, real estate never-ever-gabever goes down, so I wasn't even spending my money, I was just "investing" it.


These things it calls to mind those reality TV shows whose central myth of transformation centers on the home. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Trading Spaces," "Flip This House" and so on. These programs are the new pornography of the landed middle class, and they are, in their own way, as cruel as the old pornography. Just as the libidinal 13-year-old will someday discover that not all naked women look like Playboy centerfolds, so too, the first-time homeowner will have to learn that refurbishing your den, even on national TV, does nothing to heal the cracks in your foundation.


But maybe it's time to admit that many Americans are like me: unfit for the privilege. We buy homes we can't afford, we treat them like piggybanks, and often we lack the aptitude or interest required to care for them.

All I can add is this: Last night I waved to my building's caretaker as he mowed the lawn. This morning I saw a tree-maintenance guy throwing some debris in the dumpster. And in about six weeks I'll get my propety tax refund!