David Bouchier

Every occupation, profession, interest group and cult in the nation, from grocery wholesalers to transcendental meditators, feels the need to hold an annual conference. Doctors and lawyers have the most luxurious get-togethers, in plush resorts in delightful countries at the best times of year. Small non-profit organizations end up holding their conferences in Phoenix in August, when hotel rooms are virtually free.

The desire to make things clean and tidy in the springtime seems to be an almost biological urge. Like most biological urges, it should be resisted. Spring may be the season of renewal and new beginnings, but there’s no point in going mad about it. The energy and optimism we feel at this time of year shouldn’t be wasted on dull domestic tasks.

Easter is the season of bunnies, and chocolate eggs, and weddings. Like the opening day of baseball it signals that the wedding season has started and play can begin. Marriage is still quite popular, and will never die out I’m sure as long as there are weddings, although I suspect that the desire to have a wedding is sometimes much stronger than the desire to have a marriage. So the traditional family is safe as long as the fifty billion dollar a year wedding industry continues to flourish.

For a long time I have been intrigued by the steadily increasing size of suburban houses. During the last four decades the average family size has decreased by ten per-cent, but the average home size has increased by sixty per-cent. A few years ago I visited a model home in one of the developments that have sprung up in the potato fields of eastern Long Island, because I was curious to see how such a quantity of domestic space could be put to use.

We have all been the victims of proverbial wisdom, particularly when we were children. A large part of the job of parenting is to bombard one’s offspring with warnings and advice in the form of easily remembered clichés posing as absolute truths. My mother was very fond of these, and had a large collection of them as perhaps mothers still do: it never rains but it pours; all’s well that ends well; still waters run deep; silence is golden; the devil makes work for idle hands. Well, that last one may be true.

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