First off, I grew up in San Francisco. So the word commune was frequently bantered
about such as, “My parents started a commune,” “I need to get back to the
commune” or “I escaped the commune.” Historically, every single time I would
hear the word “commune” I would cringe. Images of dirty, unshaven hippie-esque
creatures frolicking in the woods reeking of Patchouli, chanting and sharing
their partners not unlike a hookah would haunt my brain.
But now, as a busy, slightly
overwhelmed and stressed adult in search for support in my community, I am
starting to see the allure in such a living arrangement. Recently I have
started to fantasize about what kind of community I would want to create. But
before you rush over to start braiding my underarm hair, I need to clarify what
of commune, close-knit-neighborhood, modern-day-kibbutz and purpose-built community
this would be. Here is what I have planned:
1. We would have a big area of land within 40 miles of a major
metropolitan city. That way we would all have the option of still having “real”
jobs, access to city culture, and to see the newest movie in the theater.
2. Everyone would have their own homes, on different plots of
lands. There would be no “shacking up” in shared homes (unless you opted to do
3. There would be a huge “clubhouse” where meals would be
served. There would be a chef on staff who would create a varied and nutritious
menu everyday. Oh, and all the food would be organic, locally sourced when
possible with much coming from our own land (because it IS a commune, right?).
4. There would be gardens and little patches of farmland. And
chickens! There would be friendly chickens named Bo, Trixie and George that
live in beautiful coops laying their wonderful eggs. All our children would
tend to the fields so they learn about how food is grown and the fulfillment of
providing for yourself. Alice Waters would visit and give us a thumbs up.
5. There would be wi-fi. Like CRAZY fast wi-fi.
6. There would be a kid’s club. Anytime you needed to drop of
your kids to go the city to see that new blockbuster, or if you just needed to
run to Safeway, you would have a safe, reliable place to send them. The sitters
at the kid’s club would be really nice, have training in CPR and know all the
lyrics to “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?”
The doctor would always have Band-Aids, Aspirin and Benadryl.
7. We would have a spare home that we would use for visiting
artists/teachers — a wonderful space where we would host painters, writers,
chocolate makers, basket weavers, what ever our community interests are. And in
exchange for the temporary room and board, they would give us lessons in
whatever their specialty is.
8. And speaking of lessons, there would be a big recreation center
type of place where we would hold meetings, concerts, performances and classes. Don’t
you think Adele and her family would come to stay and entertain us a couple
times a week?
9. At all times there would be a doctor or a really great RN
living amongst us. As part of their social contract with the community, they
would tend to those feeling under the weather. They would always have Band-Aids, Aspirin and Benadryl.
10. There would be a personal assistant that everyone shared, a
community gopher. Need your dry cleaning picked up? Ask the gopher. Need a rental
car dropped off? Ask the gopher. Need someone to stay home when the cable guy
stops by? Call the gopher.
11. There would be a school bus, exclusively for the use of the
community, with a really awesome driver. At first I was thinking we’d have our
own school, but I think we’d want our kids to get to know kids outside of our
utopia right? If you think we could pull it off, we can talk, but for now I’m
thinking we’d have a school bus that would drop off and bring home the kids to
all their various schools.
12. Oh, and speaking of the kids. In the recreation center there would
be a piano that was always kept in tune (and kept in a soundproof area). Our kids could go there for afternoon piano classes with the resident
piano teacher. We could also have guitar and violin lessons too.
We might even come up with our own holiday. Like Gizmo Day.
13. There would be a huge shared lawn where kids can play
soccer, crawl around and just play.
14. There would be no prevalent culture, religions, political
leaning, or particular way of life. There would be a strike rule not to force
our beliefs on our neighbors.
15. There would be traditions and parties. Halloween, St.
Patrick’s Day, even Groundhog’s day would be a day to celebrate. We might even
come up with our own holiday. Like Gizmo Day (where everyone brings in a wacky
invention) or Book Day (where everyone dresses lie their favorite literary
character and exchanges books). Fun would be had.
16. Oh, and books! Don’t we all love books? Of course we do
(because this would be part of the screening process — you must love books to
live here). We would have various book clubs depending on the topic from
non-fiction, the newest bestseller to a cookbook book club. In the recreation center
there would be walls of books that everyone could borrow whenever they want.