I live in a playhouse.
It has amenities…a bathroom, a hallway that doubles as a closet, and large windows offering a view of a fig tree, a lawn with a dip where the pool once sat, and a sandbox. I’m not sure what’s more remarkable, that the playhouse is big enough to house me, or that I can afford to live in an upscale, conservative neighborhood on my pauper’s salary.
I found this treasure through a posting on Craigslist. It was described as a cottage. The owner refers to it as the guest house. At one time it was a playhouse…evidently built to code, because I now refer to it as my home.
Before I became a resident of this teensy abode, during my evening strolls through other neighborhoods I often glimpsed a small cottage here and there sheltered behind a main house. I wondered what could possibly fit in such a small space. Now I know. A double bed, night stand, mini refrigerator, dresser, a two-shelf bookcase, child’s desk, swivel chair, tv tray, and ironing board. From the bed I can turn on the wall heater with my toes, and reach over and grab a cold one from the fridge.
I recognize fellow playhouse-dwellers. It’s the man breathing deeply from his front porch, trying to dispel a feeling of claustrophobia. It’s the woman with an inward gaze hanging out at Starbucks for companionship.
The danger of living in a space the size of, well, a playhouse, is that one spends far too much time in one’s head. If one’s inner self is bright and cheerful, then turning inward can be a pleasant pastime. But if the interior is anything like mine–filled with dark corners and an occasional worm, then who in their right mind would want to visit, let alone linger there?
When the smallness feels confining, I head to a nearby park with my picnic blanket and a book. The dog-walkers pull up short when they find someone reclining on the grass. These people have backyards that could double as parks, so they see no need to go public with their lounging.
My playhouse is so minuscule it could fit in their foyers.
But it only takes five minutes to vacuum.
And I don’t need to hire a maid.
I wonder how people who live in cardboard boxes fare. In comparison, my playhouse is a palace.