Hi Readers: Use this instead of coffee to get your heart pounding on a Monday morning: A tree house that has been delighting children in the Bondi neighborhood of Sydney, Australia, for six years could be torn down soon, says the Sydney Morning Herald:
Made by a builder, the Bondi cubby has attracted complaints ranging from the suggestion that vagrants have moved in, that people come from other neighbourhoods and spoil the quiet of the street, that the structure is unsafe, that the tree harbours spiders, and that children are left to play unsupervised.
Those against the treehouse are mostly concerned on safety grounds. Sylvia Grosslight, who has been in the neighbourhood for about 30 years, said: ”I don’t think it’s safe at all. I don’t know how well the wood has been treated and there are bugs in it.”
Those battling for its rescue are parents of children who find the controversy hard to fathom.
Hard to fathom? Ye gads! It’s so simple: Children should never come into contact with bugs, or spiders, or the natural world, or a tree (see post below), or anything not made out of plastic and screwed into the ground, which itself should be made of plastic and securely affixed to the earth’s crust with no protruding grommets. (Not that I’m quite sure what a grommet is, but it sure sounds right.)
Moreover, no child should be frolicking more than three inches off the ground, or three inches below another child (lest the smaller child be bullied), or more than three inches away from a loving parent or pre-approved caregiver who has undergone a background check and taken babysitting lessons and is at least 25 years old and willing to kill spiders.
As for a tree house — I know we will all start cursing the fact that liability laws will fell it in the end. But does anyone have any great ideas on how to change that? How to stand up for sanity and against the insidious idea that in life there is either perfect safety or untenable risk? In other words, that ANY risk at all is unacceptable?
I LOVE safety. But I think I’d love the tree house, too. And in my mind, they are not polar opposites. How can we get other folks to hold those two ideas at once: That something can be safe enough, even if it’s not PERFECTLY safe? How do we get that to sound sane again? — Lenore
P.S. Here’s an update. The tree house has been granted a temporary stay of execution.