Like a colossal junkyard, the swamps
and back lots of Connecticut flashed past,
one broken-down fragment
bearing no relation to another.
What a hotchpotch the world was!"
from The Bell Jar ~ by Sylvia Plath
(p 112; beginning of Chapter 10)
That's me: just longing, as does Sylvia Plath,
for a bit more tidyness in this messy world,
and filled with dismay to witness these grand
old houses, so sadly neglected and in need of TLC.
As Gerry and I have recently learned in our quest to improve distressed aging houses, it turns out that back in the days when a public sewer system first became available in Lafayette, homeowners could OPT OUT of public safety and cleanliness. If participating in a community health initiative seemed too costly or socialist to them, they could "have their freedoms" to maintain a private sewer line, right in the middle of a city block that was otherwise entirely connected to the city mains! Can you imagine the current state of these 100+ year old private lines? Nasty is an understatement! If only there had been a "sewer mandate" we wouldn't still be dealing with this problem today.
Insult to Injury: Even though we are blessed with outdoor swim weather here in Indiana well into October, there is a chronic shortage of outdoor swimming pools in our area. One of my favorites was recently sold and bulldozed over, and guess what was built in its place? Storage units! Makes me so sad and angry to see the storage of unused crap prioritized over sunshine, clean water, and exercise -- on prime real estate, at a a major intersection in Lafayette. What a hotchpotch!
Look whose recent use "hodgepodge"
echoes Plath's use -- 60 years ago! -- of "hotchpotch":
"During a recent tour of Xiongan New Area, a city roughly 60 miles south of Beijing, President Xi Jinping told the state-owned news agency Xinhua he opposes street stalls. 'The capital is first and foremost a political center, not a hodgepodge. It cannot run factories in alleys or engage in a street-stall economy,' he said." ~quoted in The Daily Upside