Astute Observations

Homogenous Domicilius

Being a bass player for hire, a good workday for me is one spent either in town making records or on the road somewhere playing live shows. Since September, I have spent the majority of my days on the road. From the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, up and down the east coast and out west, it was an amazing fall, full of music and long drives through colorful scenes of harvest time.
     Now February is coming to an end. Just as I enjoyed an extended autumn, I have also experienced a full dose of Old Man Winter.
     Chicago, New York, Boston, Pennsylvania: snow. Not the pretty, decorative, snow angels and sleigh rides kind, but the brutal, freezing, slushy, crappy, enough already, all-work-and-no-play-makes-Jack-a-homicidal-maniac kind.
     I have just returned from the frozen tundra of Chicago. The music was fantastic. The weather was brutal.
     It was 65 degrees when I landed at BNA yesterday. Sweet relief! I practically jigged up the jet bridge!
     This is my favorite time of year. Spring! Every year I feel like we are pulling one over on the frozen, mittened, sneezing folks of less fortunate climes.
     I love coming home to my little house in Inglewood. The first flowers will soon bloom, warm weather at last. Aaaahhh.

     But this year, I notice a more invasive, insidious, kudzu-like creeping blight invading our beautiful landscape here in East Nashville. The menace? Homogenous domicilius, aka the cookie-cutter McMansion.

     I am not going to mince words here. I hate these things.
     Oversized, ego-driven monuments to conspicuous consumption—too big for the lot, too big for the street, shoddily constructed monstrosities that demand the eye’s attention: “Look at me and all my stuff!”
     They may be increasing property values and growing the tax base and all that money-speak, but like John Rich on Love Circle, these Barbie Dream Houses are slowly mowing down the soul of our neighborhood.
     Can they be stopped? An historical overlay would do the trick. But in a city that knocks down beautiful buildings and puts up a Walgreens in their place?
     So I will simply say, stop it! Go away developers. Screw you. You money-grubbing, soulless destroyers of vibe: You suck. Your quest for profit is sickening and transparent. You suck.
     If I have offended you, I am glad. You offend our neighborhood. You suck.
     Generations of people have loved, worked and raised families in these houses that you purchase, mow down and replace like pieces on a monopoly board.
     To me, our neighborhood was never about great rooms or gigantic, apartment-like closets, but a place of tranquil simplicity and living within our means.
     To those who are considering buying one of these McMonsters, reconsider. Instead of imposing your will over the neighborhood, partner with it. Improve an existing home. Your neighbors will thank you.
     Bigger is not always better. The neighborhood has drawn you here with its charm, a big part of which is its older homes—well-constructed and built to last. Respect that.
    If you want a cookie-cutter home, there are plenty to be found. Go buy one of those. Somewhere else.

     Please and thank you.