Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Don't be hating on yourself, broseph

The pigeon is one of the lowliest of creatures. I think it was the great Herb Caen who first called them "rats with wings." Rats themselves are pretty despicable. And not being much of an animal guy, I can think of lots of other critters that gross me out - frogs get no love from me, and if I never see another possum that will be fine.

No matter what I think about these beasts, it doesn't seem to bother them to be what they are. You don't notice any pigeons being annoyed by all the other freaking pigeons swarming around. You don't see rats going off about how crowded the rat den has become. They just climb all over each other and keep doing whatever rats do. So what is it with is home sapiens that makes us hate on our own species so much?

I pondered this issue at a meeting last night where people were up in arms because some more houses are going to be built in their neighborhood. If there's one thing we can generally agree on here in Northern California, it's that we definitely have way too many houses in our own neighborhoods as it is. Whether we live on a street with three houses or 300, it's way too many. We can just barely tolerate the existing neighbors we have, let alone adding any more. What's that? My subdivision was only built 10 years ago? And if the neighbors had their way then, I wouldn't be living here? Hmmm.

I've gotten used to hearing this anti-people argument but it always makes me shake my head. What is it about the presence of more people - our own kind, our own species - that we so despise? What makes us want to deny to someone else the simple joys we get from home and family? What is the root of this pervasive NIMBYism?

Somehow it comes around to self-loathing - if I don't want to have more people like me around, doesn't that mean I don't want to be around myself? After all, if they build some new homes in your neighborhood chances are the people who move in will be a lot like you, and they will have the same wants and needs you have. So what if there are a few more people around? There is always some earlier time when there were less of us, fewer cars, less noise -would we turn back the clock if we could? Turn it back to before we were all born, to make the world a better place?

If you see a bird building a nest, you might appreciate nature in action. But if you see a human building a house, it's time to get up a petition. Go figure.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Hahaha, well I have to admit, my local city council recently approved a plan for hundreds of homes to be built near my house. I did have that initial gut reaction, but then saw the developer was going to kick in $400,000 for synthetic turf at the local soccer field. Good plan!