Tuesday, September 01, 2015


While in Edinburgh I have been staying in a Hostel. This makes the travel part of my blogging a lot cheaper than if I needed my own space. A clean, comfortable bed, fast wifi and a good shower is enough. All that needs doing when I am in the room is sleeping, so having 9 other people in the dorm doesn't bother me. I am a fan of cohousing. Some of my best memories come from living in residence with a bunch of friends. When you have to organise to see people, even really close friends, sometimes time and life get in the way. It's not at all that you don't want to see them, there are just more clear and present dangers to fight.

There are some very obvious reasons why the advantages of communal living fall apart. On one night, a big red-bearded hipster spent most of the night reciting a poetry of sorts to himself. I say poetry because the Fringe was on, and I am giving him credit for creative surrealism. More likely it was just booze speaking. On another night about 7 people returned at 5 in the morning and decided some djing and dancing were in order. Mostly though, people have just slept when they were in the room and kept rather quiet. Eye covers and ear plugs and you are sorted.

Ear plugs are cheaper than a private room

I think the things that push people away from Communal living are partly a clash of habits, a lack of private space and a feeling that at some point you deserve your own space. If you share a kitchen, clearing up someone else's mess drives some people mad. Having people moan at them about the 'mess' drives others mad. Someone may be a great mate when you don't use the same sink. As layers of old food accumulate, warm fuzzy feelings can become more rare. Even if they are a great mate with similar habits and levels of cleanliness, often people just need to be in their bubble when they get home. They need to shift from a crazy work headspace and have no energy left for banter. The downside of sharing where you rest and recover is you can't be quite as selfish. You have to be nice. Sometimes nice requires more energy than is available. Which is a reason families end up bickering sometimes. They just aren't being nice to each other. People who love each other may treat each other so badly, it is hard to understand how they like each other. I think this is more often due to a lack of energy than maliciousness.

But shared living spaces can be awesome when they work well. Last night after the Hostel Bar closed, and the official music system was turned off, one chap started playing the piano. It was a lot of fun singing along to tunes that cross the imaginary borders that theoretically separate the united nations of hostel occupants. People from all over singing together. A happy place.
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