Living Aboard Sinking Whales

It takes fifty to seventy-five years for a dead whale to sink to the bottom of the ocean. As it sinks, an entire ecosystem of tiny creatures descend with it and thrive on its decomposing carcass.

From where I sit I see an auxiliary sink, two coffee makers, and three holsters of knives. There are four sets of china.  The mess ware and the quarry ware and the copperstone ware and the fine china each have their home. There are four rooms for sunning and ten more for blocking out the sun. There are seats for 175 people within this single structure, including a leather couch that can comfortably seat ten people without the inconvenience of coming into contact with another human being (As a secondary defense, it comes equipped with six pillows the size of large children). I can walk for 5 minutes in this house and never cross my own path and never leave sight of a television.

For twenty-five people- our crew for the week- it is extravagant. For the fifteen maximum occupants it is designed, it is opulent. For the single nuclear family for which it was built, it is aristocratic; they are the modern day Sun King’s of the South, laden by possessions for which there could be no justification beyond stroking the ego of a self-made family. They can be reminded that they have made it every time they have to use their iPhones to call each other from the game room to the media room. If a nucleus is the right metaphor to describe them, then they are at the center of a middle-weight atom; not the heaviest perhaps- this is not, after all, the Sun King’s palace in Versailles; that has been quite unfashionable since the heads of that particular aristocracy were separated from their carriers- but they would be perhaps among the rubidium.

What will become of these whales of homes as they sink to the ocean floor? Will ecosystems of idealist hipster youth crowd like algae on the lumbering masses which the previous generation erected and could not keep up, like the group houses that have become of mansions in DC? Will three generations live together in these colossi, as in past generations? Will we keep them up or will we make whole new structures of their bones?

I don’t know. But we are twenty-five and for a week we will fill a space that is quite the right size for our mob.


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