Saturday, July 24, 2021

Survey Results Say


At the moment I’m having my first cup of coffee of the day and enjoying birdsong and the cool morning air. The sky is blue and the clouds are thin little wisps as though they were put in place by a painter of happy little clouds. It’s seven am on a Saturday and this constitutes a very lazy morning for me indeed.

Since there’s always a story for everything, at least for me, I want to include you in this one. Yesterday I posed this question on Facebook because it was a real dilemma for me:

Suburban etiquette question: our back patio is completely fenced. Would it be permissible for me to have my coffee out there in the morning in my nightgown? I would be visible only to my next door neighbor if she looked out her second-story window. What say you all?

Columbia has rules, you know. We have rules about hanging out laundry, cutting your grass, changing your house and even when you can put out your trash. How was I to know whether there was a rule about having coffee in one’s nightclothes?

Okay, I didn’t think it was something in writing, necessarily. More like “what is within the bounds of good taste if one lives in houses that are close together?” How much personal freedom does one have? Do people who live in single family homes with more space between them and their neighbors feel an expanded sense of privacy? Or do they actually feel more exposed?

We have a variety of housing types in Columbia and that is by design. If you live in an apartment without any sort of outside access like a balcony, then this is not a question you are contemplating. But let’s consider quadroplexes, townhomes, single family homes of modest footprint and ones with more impressive square footage. Does the type of home you live in impact whether or not you would go outside to enjoy a cup of coffee in your nightclothes? 

I imagine in the more rural parts of the county one might be buffered by so much land that this isn’t even an issue. My daughter has a friend whose patio actually faces farm animals. I wonder what they’d think?

My own completely unscientific poll resulted in approximately 50 in favor of nightwear on the patio. None opposed.  One person suggested I might run it by my neighbor. Two people questioned what kind of a nightgown it was, and, my personal favorite was the person who felt I was being courteous by wearing anything at all!

Now that I have convinced myself that coffee outside in my nightgown is acceptable, I really hope that Columbia doesn’t have any such ordinances to the contrary.

What do you think?

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