Sad Party

By Amy Knight

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The House We Live In: A Series on Building the Sustainable Home in Tucson, Arizona

A few years ago, I had gone on a handful of dates with a guy who then invited me to a party he was having at his house. He was cooking food for everyone, and he asked me if I could bring a few folding chairs, since I happened to have some. I showed up a few minutes early, with the chairs—and we waited. And waited. Eventually, one other friend came. And that was it. I think of how mortified I was and I can only imagine how it must have felt for him, prepared for a crowd that didn’t come, with witnesses. It’s the kind of thing my anxious self is always afraid of, but of course it never actually happens. That’s what we have to tell ourselves. It’s a silly fear.

But here I am, deadline passed, with no bids. One by one, they have written to tell me they can’t do it after all.

Okay, that’s not quite accurate. There is still one builder preparing a bid, the one added late in the game, the one who kept me from freaking out when the list got down to three. But nobody on the original list came through. This is the problem with the anxiety of reasonably intelligent people; it often isn’t entirely irrational. I worried this might happen precisely because it could.

And now it has.

Of course now I have to worry that the late addition, the last builder, will also decide to pass. And even if he doesn’t—if he does produce a bid—I will have to decide if I feel I really need another to compare it to, or if the initial pricing work we had done will be enough. I’ll have to see what the bid looks like. If it’s not to my liking, then I’ll be back at square one.

There are more builders; I’m sure there are. There are more conversations I can have, referrals I can chase down, internet trails I can follow. But I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a little disheartening. Could it really be that, after all the enthusiasm we’ve seen, nobody actually wants to build this beautiful little house?



Amy KnightAmy Knight is the fiction editor for In this weekly series, she chronicles the process of designing and building an eco-friendly house in Tucson, Arizona. The series will explore both how it’s done and what it means, from the perspective of someone who wants to do the right thing but knows almost nothing about sustainable building. Look for new posts every Monday. You can email Amy at [email protected] or leave a comment here. Visit her website, or follow her on twitter @amypknight.

Photo of balloon courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Amy Knight by Richard Whitmer. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.