Photo by note thanun / Unsplash

I visit the Frankfurt Napcabs. Gotta wonder if it's the future of housing for all of us.

If you travel through Germany, and happen through Frankfurt (do, it's really quite lovely, albeit one HELL of a long walk to get to the terminals), and have lots of time to spare, I recommend renting a Napcab.

It's a tiny space (see photo above), climate controlled, you get piped-in music, clean linens, mirror, space to plug in and work and recharge your stuff. No toilet, no place to wash. Those, you gotta walk around the corner. You have a code you can use when you want back in.  They are wonderful, really.

This is the second time I've used them. There are three lined up near the Air Canada lounge. They aren't easy to find; you learn as I did to ask where the Air Canada lounge is and there you are.

You can reserve in advance, figure about ten bucks an hour. Here's why it's worth it to me. I could strip off layers and layers of sweaty clothing, all of which I wore for a transatlantic flight that is usually freezing but this time someone set the cabin for Phoenix. I was stopped and frisked damned near to the underwear by the German TSA folks who insisted I had Something, managed to unscrew multiple pill bottles and spill the damned things all over in search of the Knife I Don't Carry. It seems that because he was frustrated at not being able to nail his quarry, I ended up with a shitton of extra work while my body was screaming for the pain pills he'd managed to spill all over the damned place.

I wasn't amused at that, nor was I much amused by the requirement that I HAD to mask up and most of the German TSA folks weren't. Suffice it to say I left in a huff, then asked no fewer than fifteen people about where to find the Napcabs, and finally found a Russian flight attendant who took mercy on me. She wrote me a map, showed me the way, grinned when I said thank you in Russian, and finally, voila.

It's a very small space, but perfectly adequate for what it is intended to do. It's a private rest area, much more accessible than a hotel, far more convenient.

As a living space, it's great, as long as you don't mind the absence of a kitchen, fridge, room to exercise, pee, or anything else. And I will bet you it's the future of housing. Someday tiny homes will be eclipsed by these.

Why do I think that? Already, my ex told me about a highrise in Denver whose apartments were recently gutted. Walls torn down. Now it will be a highrise of 300 square foot cubes renting for $1500 a month.

There's a waiting list.

I won't comment. Just sit with this. Food for thought.

Some years ago I read that Tokyo had gone the way of such tiny spaces. Here's a perfect example.

Being a farm girl, I am not a fan. With any luck I will die before this becomes the norm but my guess is that this indeed is where we are headed. If you are born into this, no big deal. Americans like their spaces.

While this isn't that article, I note here that as airlines shrink their seats, we grow out of our clothing at incredible rates and need double-wide everything from showers to waiting room seats to cars.. How the hell is any typical (read obsese) American going to squeeze into this space?

Food for thought.

Sitting as I am right now in a pretty big house, so typically American, I can absolutely appreciate the value of a tiny living space (I've tented a great deal so, yeah I get it). But the idea of being in a tight honeycomb, with the sexual exploits of your neighbors right next to your head, well, no. I also understand that by necessity, that may be our future.

America has ever been the land of wide open lands, much like our northern neighbor. To be fair, there are reasons some of those lands remain so wide open, being either rather inhospitable by virtue of weather, or these days, once-hospitable lands made uninhabitable by weather, climate change, lack of water.

Untold millions of people are already on the move, weather driven by civil war, famine, lack of work, any or all the above or much worse. They are coming. They are coming because they have to.  We would move too, should the ground we inhabit turn to dust, the animals die off and all methods of sustenance dry away.

So would we.

So while right now I fully enjoy the convenience of such a space en route to somewhere else, a part of me is witnessing what is coming. It frightens me because I have to wonder what is going to happen to our forests, the animals, the oceans we so badly need. We can't squeeze those into tiny spaces, but we are squeezing their inhabitants out via habitat destruction and pollution.

Food for thought. Now I am going to squeeze myself into an even tinier space called an aircraft, and wend my way through the night towards Ethiopia.

Children run down the street after school lets out in Ale, Ethiopia.
Photo by Taylor Wilcox / Unsplash