Private lives and space invaders
As Australians, we love our space. When I’ve travelled overseas, I’ve never had any trouble spotting my fellow countrymen and women, even before they have opened their mouths, because they’re the ones that will spread themselves all over the place, whether they’re at a cafe or at the airport gate waiting to board a flight.
So ingrained is it in our lifestyle that we’re often not even aware that we’re doing it. A friend relocated to Spain for work a while ago, taking her whole family with her. While she has Spanish heritage, she was born and raised here. But like many first generation migrant children, she has always identified strongly with her family ties.
However, six months into her new life in Europe, she was finding living in a small apartment — among other small apartments — a bit of a squeeze. Suddenly, the need for space was real — and she felt very Australian.
With Sydney’s density levels on the rise, we’re all going to have to work out better ways of dealing with space and privacy issues in both our public and private spaces.
For us, it’s as simple as getting used to having neighbours after the house next door has been empty for a couple of years. Instead of blindly wandering into our TV room from the bathroom in the morning looking for the shoes I kicked off the night before, I now have to check the curtains are drawn lest it’s a case of too much information.
The same goes for our kitchen door, which faces directly on to the new deck the neighbours installed. While a new fence has created a physical boundary, further screening might be the go if we’re going to enjoy a morning cup of tea on our little deck without having to get changed out of our pyjamas.
Because getting dressed for the sake of neighbours would be unAustralian.