Ethan Hughes really distilled the difference between visits, light and deep, in his recent article in Communities Magazine, a publication of the Fellowship for Intentional Community . This article translates well to the difference between living alone with friends nearby, and living with a roommate. The implications are really the same. Here’s what Ethan wrote in “Back to Life: Returning From the Virtual to the Real.”
In 1999 I declared to my family and friends that I was going to attempt to live car-free. I was already living without personal computer use, emails, airplanes, and movies. Some of the strongest resistance to this new choice came from my grandmother. She feared a disconnect in our relationship as a result of spending less time together.
My first car-free visit to her home required a half-day of bike and train travel instead of a one-and-a-half-hour drive. The lack of an evening train made it necessary for me to spend the night at her home after our dinner together. Had I still been driving, of course, I would have driven home afterward. Instead we enjoyed a wonderful meal together, played some cards, and stayed up late as she told me stories about my dad (her son), who had passed away when I was 13. In the morning, we breakfasted on the second-story back porch while the birds sang. Suddenly, she reached across the table with tears in her eyes, put her hand on mine, and confessed, “I am so happy you do not drive anymore!” It turns out that I had been the first adult grandson to ever spend the night at her house.
Now that’s the difference in a nutshell.