Seth Godin had a mini-post about fences the other day. To quote:
There are very few fences that can stop a determined person (or dog, for that matter).
Most of the time, the fence is merely a visual reminder that we’re rewarded for complying.
If you care enough, ignore the fence. It’s mostly in your head.
Of course that started me thinking.
How are you rewarded for complying? Think of a red velvet line at the movie theater or the DMV, for that matter. Move along people. Keep to the line. Next, please. Are you rewarded for complying by being next? By being privileged to pay your money and get your driver’s license? Or is it that you’re being contained and manipulated?
Let’s face it, there are a great many places and situations where crowd control is important and where chaos would erupt without some way to funnel people in and out. Is that being rewarded?
A very long time ago I went back to college to get my teacher’s certificate. You have to have one in Texas. I had to take a couple of courses from this one professor who made no bones about the fact that school was not about educating. It was about socializing. We taught children to line up. We taught them to recite what we wanted when we wanted it, etc. I realized, after a little while, that he was absolutely correct and that I was not built for that kind of life – which is why you never hear me talk about the years I taught elementary school. It didn’t happen.
So, the idea that fences reward you for complying? Not to me. They probably condition you into complying.
I do like fences, however, but the ones around my house. I’ve mentioned before that I have a board on board fence which means that it’s impossible to see through. Most privacy fences – either straight up or the basketweave design – have a gap between the boards.
In my case, a fence is defense. It’s privacy. It’s protection. I don’t want my neighbors observing me as I’m puttering around in the yard. I don’t want them teasing Flash by calling his name – that’s why I have a double fence between us, creating an alley or a buffer zone between both houses on either side.
I’m a privacy nut, which is why I have solar screens on all my windows. It’s only natural that I consider my fence a tool in my arsenal for the same purpose. I’m not keeping anyone in; I’m keeping people out. And if I’m complying with anything, it’s my own privacy.
What do you think?