Thursday, 3 November 2005

Family Hotel

Wednesdays are usually off days for me, and I use them to go to my printmaking class. I was sick, however, and stayed in bed all day. I didn't feel like eating, but managed to make myself a protein drink in the morning. I still didn't feel like eating when it came to dinner time, so I had another protein drink. Not the healthiest of meals, but I guess I'll live. There was only one thing I wanted--the obento at Heidian (黑店) in Danshui (淡水). But when I drove out there, they had already closed for the day. There wasn't anyone home to feel sorry for or to take care of me either so I was totally out of luck and didn't want to eat anything else. I guess I deserve it since I'm never home anyway. Even if there were people home, they wouldn't even know I'm sick. I haven't figured out why yet. Is it because the house is too big (relatively speaking for the number of people living here) or because people just don't think to care? Perhaps both. I guess there are times when there is simply too much space. I miss Tokyo even more now. I miss my family and friends in Tokyo.

Sometimes I wonder if people who own those big and luxurious homes I see on TV are happy living there. Most of the time, they're accomplished people of a certain age, so their children are all living elsewhere, and they have rooms and bathrooms in the double digits. But I wonder how all of that is used. Perhaps they're not. Perhaps it would be quite lively if there were that many people living there, hustling and bustling about. But I'm guessing that normally, it's just the couple, their dogs and butler, chef and maids.

Now, for most of people, it probably takes less than ten seconds to get from the bedroom to the living room, and less than five seconds to get from the living room to the kitchen. Imagine having to walk for even one minute (or more!) just to get a drink of water. I would imagine that people might give up even before getting up. But I suppose that's where the advanced phone system and the maids come in handy.

Even if all the material needs can be answered by the staff, I'm guessing that maintaining the warm, comfortable and homey feeling a residence should have may still be a challenge for many of these places. I've seen the inside to some really expensive houses and flats, and while most of them are fabulously grand and beautiful, they feel like hotels. They feel like a comfortable place to sleep in for a night or two, but not a place one would share with a family. In most cases, the bedrooms are quite far apart. Most of the time, the master bedroom suite in one part of the house (or on one floor) and the other rooms in the far end of the house (and/or on a different floor). These houses are great for kids who don't want to have anything to do with their parents because they can just hide in their part of the house and do whatever they want. They can even hold their own private parties and the parents are likely to not even know. I know someone who had his girlfriend living at their house and his mother, who also lives in the same house, didn't even know it. When the silent alarm saying that the mother was coming into his wing of the house went off, he'd quickly usher his girlfriend into the AV room, where she'd probably pour herself some drinks, sink into the expensive Italian sofa, watch a movie and then resurface in a couple of hours after the mother had gone.

I hope I remember not to build a family "hotel" before my kids are grown up.

Time to stop daydreaming and get to a doctor. My voice is nearly completely gone. And if it continues, so will be my job. Then I wouldn't be able to even get a chance to mull over building a family hotel or not.

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