5.26.2006

They Should Have Called It 'Vegas'


When I was growing up, Indian Hills Estates was THE place to live. Everybody who was anybody lived in one of those sprawling ranch or rambler houses, with a lawn that looked like a putting green and a patio flush against the golf course. In Indian Hills, the fathers were always home in time to get in nine holes, and the mothers volunteered in the school library and then got their nails done.

The rest of us slummed it on streets similar to the one I live on now, a hodge-podge of split levels, contemporaries, and something trying to pass as colonial. The more fortunate of us had trampolines in our front yards. Our mothers worked at Big Apple and our fathers put in long hours at Lockheed to pay for our band uniforms and then met their girlfriends at Gino's Pizza afterward.

Ah, those were simpler times.

Today, everywhere I look, they're knocking down the houses of my youth to erect those altars to excess, the McMansions. Not just a few. Three houses on two acres will be replaced by two dozen homes the size of Biltmore. It's such a regular event, we hardly notice anymore, except for Lo, who constantly mistakes a house for the mall and begs me to take her to Build-a-Bear.

I can see the appeal. Some of these homes are so enormous you could give your kids a credit card and the number to Domino's and not have to see them until their high school graduation. On the other hand, I see the dangers. Most of the new houses have hidden "media rooms" where the computer is so far removed from any family areas that they're Dateline Specials waiting to happen.

We do wonder how so many, many people can afford this lifestyle. How do they pay for Cinderella's castle and for the husbands' Boxters, the wives' Navigators, and their teens' Land Rovers that fill the five-car garages?


But more than that, we wonder why ANYONE would pay $900,000.00 for THIS:



Here are two of the ten or twelve "masterpieces" that adorn the front gate (Note the warning about the video cameras, installed after those pesky kids kept painting a mustache on Mona Lisa):




Keep in mind, these are not the largest examples of what I'm talking about. But while they may not be the Big Macs, they sure have extra cheese.

And now for the Bellagio, Venetian...





13 comments:

mamoo said...

are these homes or just HOUSES?

and, where is minus-5? she hasn't been around since monday.

Tania Rochelle said...

Right, you and Biggy, always with the minus-five...

Biggy said...

honey, you know there's a palatial double-wide with our name on it somewhere.

Tania Rochelle said...

with plastic flowers and pink flamingos? that's what i'm talkin' about.

Jennifer said...

Those tacky Renaissance walls are what happens when whitetrash gets their on hands on some money.

minus five said...

i'm glad to see your mom is concerned with my whereabouts; even if she won't buy me a $200 slide from wal-mart b/c i'm not "family".

i'm really having a hard time seeing these pictures of the "renaissance" neighborhood. if i hadn't seen similar catastrophes in texas locations and if i didn't know about your lack of photoshop knowledge, i would swear you doctored those images.

what a waste.

do you know how many pairs of flip-flops and rolls of duct tape you could buy with that kind of money?

MCALDWELLC said...

Those kind of houses and subdivisions make me want to slit my wrists. BIG, BLAND, BORING...places where imaginations go to die. I'll take a double-wide with plastic flowers ANY day over that...

rk said...

I remember Indian Hills. Kenny and Jerry Martinson lived there. They had the first VCR I ever saw. Haven't thought about them since about 1975.

It makes me sad when I find myself in those treeless American neighborhoods of bleached white concrete driveways of 6,000SF of mostly mortgage debt that only the cleaning lady ever inhabits during weekday daylight hours. There's a great Joel Sternfeld photograph that comes to mind
http://www.billcharles.com/sternfeld/joelsternfeld_7.htm

top left image - the maids waiting for the bus - it's even photographed in Atlanta - it maybe doesn't work so well as a small web image.

These houses really are just another example of the power of marketing forces and even dare I say mental unhealth. These are fine examples of narcissism and true narcissism being about hiding one's true self, these cookie cutter neighborhoods of gigantic houses just give the owners of these houses more room to hide out in.

Imagine too if you moved into one of these neighborhoods and didn't build a piece of crap stucco terra cotta roofed spanish/tudor fusion prefab thing, you'd stand out, not hide out. Keeping up with the Jones is not so much about showing off your wealth as about blending in. Imagine too if those houses had lot's of acres around them, you'd never be sure that you were blending in. How would you sleep?

mamoo said...

minus-five thank god you're back. i'v missed your charm and wit.

minus five said...

thank you, tania's mom. it's nice to know that i'm not the only one who is impressed with myself.

Tania Rochelle said...

Hey, could the minus-five fan club and its president sarah please hold your meetings somewhere else?

minus five said...

your mom started it.

and anyway, hate is not a family value. it's not my fault that your mom and husband like me so much.

Anonymous said...

McMansions ARE tacky....unless they come with fries.

Harius

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