Public & Private: Beyond the Web

Surely the web is an ambiguous space to think about the line between public and private. For many, the ‘public’ space of the world wide web is often accessed through very private quarters – a living room or one’s bedroom. The comment posted on my last public/private rant is well worth the read, as it offers a few nuggets to ponder on generation & technology issues.

But as I sit outside of my newly purchased ground floor apartment (I always feel weird calling it a condo), looking over my whopping 1300 sq ft of what will someday become my enclosed little piece of inner city heaven, I am reminded that people can’t even figure out the difference between public and private in their everyday lives. We negotiated quite harshly to own the small swatch of land behind our apartment; to have sole ownership of the currently desolate parking area that will someday – hopefully soon – become our yard. A yard where my daughters and I can relax on a freshly built patio while their father barbecues dinner. Maybe even looking at some greenery thanks to the thumbs of my friends.

At the moment, there is no fence to clearly distinguish the line of public property of the alleyway and the private property of our ‘yard’. Perhaps thats why everyone and their uncle feels that they’ve struck inner city parking gold when they spot space for 4 cars!  It iritates me to no end. Not only because it is our PRIVATE property, not only because the driveway is sinking and we can only park on certain spots for any period of time – but also because of the lack of respect for someone else’s property. When I encounter someone unlocking their door, their attitude to me (usually before I can say much of anything) is “yea yea, I was just leaving”. But that’s not the point really. I am often tempted to ask for their house address, just in case I need free parking when/if I am in their neighborhood. I cannot imagine how any of these massive SUV owners (currently, it is usually SUV’s who park here since street parking must be hell for a boat) would feel if I pulled up to their fancy pants house in the suburbs, and casually parked my Echo in their driveway for a few hours without any word to them. Something tells me it would result in a hefty towing charge.

For now, I am resigned to leaving bold type-faced letters on people’s windshields, informing them that it is private property, but all I really want is for people to understand the difference between public and private space. Maybe I am asking too much.

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