Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Communal Experiment?

I am-- at least in theory-- a huge fan of communal stuff. I like the idea of sharing things because it's practical and cost-efficient, and just seems nice. Now, I say theoretically, because I have never truly lived in an intentional community, or commune, or anything like that. So while I have lots of experience sharing with those in my family and friends, I have never done it in a more strictly enforced environment.

There are some people that it is very easy to share with, like my sister. We pass clothes back and forth, and I always know that should I truly need something, she would give it back, and I know she would ask for something back if she really needed it. I guess we hammered out the respect through years and years of fighting over things as kids.

So, now, it appears, Ben and I have the opportunity for our first true exercise in communal living. Our neighbor, John, has suggested that he and Ben go in together on a lawn mower. We have a very nice hand-me-down mower that, unfortunately, breaks constantly, and John doesn't have one at all. We only use the mower once a week at most, and it costs a good bit to get one. So the idea is that the two of them would buy one together, we would store it at their place where there's actually room, and we would split cost of maintenance.

I must admit, for all of my gung-ho communal inclinations, I'm learning that sharing stuff takes trust, honesty, and a relinquishing of control. Trust because we have to believe that each party is giving their all, and honestly because not only do we expect that our neighbor will be totally forthcoming about whatever happens with the mower, but the same is expected of us. And obviously when something is not totally in your care, you are giving up the idea that somehow you single-handedly control its destiny.

Let's see how this goes! If it works, maybe Ben and I are off to our communal farm. ;-)


Anonymous said...

If you're a fan of all things communal, I suggest the Swedish film Together (Tillsammans), from director Lukas Moodysson. Great dramatic comedy set in Sweden in the 70s. It kind of reminds me of Little Miss Sunshine.

Adele Paz Collins said...

Oh my gosh, we LOVE that movie! We got it down in Atlanta, and have been looking for a copy somewhere else ever since and can't find it anywhere... any suggestions?