Thursday, August 18, 2005

Eyesore of the Week

Well, folks, after driving past this place, I finally stopped long enough to snap a quick photo for your enjoyment. As a nod to the monthly feature on Kunstler's website (I can't bring myself to call him Jim), I'll be posting an occasional visual tutorial about the good, the bad, and the ugly in Bentonville, Arkansas. This photo falls somewhere between the second two descriptions.

Despite what you may think, this picture is not taken from an alley of the back of a house. This is actually two houses, or rather, two units of a duplex inside one structure. If, say, your friend lives in one of these places and you want to stop by for a visit, you may have a hard time finding the human-person-door.

It's tucked around each side of the giant-automobile-entrance. Look closely!! It's there, I promise!! When The Bride and I go walking around the fair city of Bentonville, we usually pass at least one of these units that have been built in a few places in downtown. It's a "nice" change of pace from all of the beautiful, sometimes expensive, sometimes inexpensive homes that have wide front porches, small front yards, and nestle right up to the sidewalk. Ocassionaly, there are even friendly familiar faces sitting on those porches that wave to us as we walk by. Usually, theses houses have a detached garage behind the house down a narrow driveway, a rear-loading garage, or a corner house with a side-loading garage on the cross street.

All of which do the same thing: Hide the automobile away from the people and make the front of the house about the people that live there and those that walk, bike, or even drive by.

However, these types of atriocious houses in the above picture make one giant statement. "The most important possession we have is our car. It is more important than the people that live here, or the structure that is home to them. Our car is so important, that we'll make a giant home for it that makes the part made for people a footnote."

If you had to guess who lives here, would you say a car or people?

The Bride and I enjoy our walks through most of the downtown district of Bentonville. And then we pass these giant garage houses, where the trees go away, and the entire front "yard" becomes concrete, and we are treated to the visual stimuli of a giant door. No windows, no people, no porches. And no life on the street.