Living in Hallways
I have heard it said that life is lived in the hallways. Mine is lived in a kitchen – but perhaps my hallway needs some consideration.
What is the optimum size of a hallway?
My parents’ hallway is large-ish – arguably a waste of space, although it did allow me to practise my acrobatics as a child … but maybe it was too small for that, given the broken toe that resulted in a poorly judged handstand. So saying, the hall is also handy for putting practice. And for standing around in.
That is where my hallway fails. It is a wee square and then a narrow and oppressive passageway. Good for awkward jostling and feeling in the wrong place. Very poorly designed for letting people in and out. And nowhere to put anything. One single return-home would block the entire thing, so we use the back door – and the hallway is rarely used for its intended purpose.
Daughter#1 and Daughter#2 use the hallway quite a lot. They handily fill it with obstacles: the tunnel, a tent, random bedding and settlements of teddies, dolls or Zhu-zhu hamsters. Luckily, because we so rarely use the front door, it is not too hazardous for guests.
Regular guests know their place: via the laundry porch. Irregular guests are still out the front, looking for the doorbell that has been on a to-do list since we moved in five years ago…
I liked the hallway in our old house. The house was smaller but the hallway had a place to store things and a space to stand around, let people in and let people out.
Our current hallway is terrible for that. When guests are leaving, I am caught between shooing them along the passageway to open the door themselves… alternatively, I am diving off first, pushing past them, opening the door before they get there. The first way feels rude and pushy; the second as if I really want rid of them. Oh, for a personal space respecting space where we can stand around planning to do things more often, assess the likelihood of physical contact on parting and a few nervous laughs and then a relaxed and well timed opening of the door!
If the medium is the message – what does my hallway say?
Architecturally, it says: you are on your own. You ahead or you are behind or you are in someone’s way. You are not together, you are not equal. Apart from at the wee square bit which says: hello hello jostle jostle I am glad I didn’t bring a cat as I wouldn’t be able to swing it here…
And the laundry porch – what does it say? It says – laundry, bikes, recycling and disorganisation. My daughters use it a lot this July – generally they are hovering near the tumble drier for a heat! And if the medium is the message, that particular hallway really is where life is lived.