We were discussing a play called "The Dining Room" today in class, and how dining rooms are kind of a lost upper middle class tradition (for example, most new homes in Utah don't have dining rooms). We have a dining room in my house of growing up. We used it for some Sunday dinners and whenever we had company over. We also used it to play cards, build puzzles on, banish children to from the kitchen, and to hide under during hide-and-seek. My mom used it for her sewing and paying the bills. I don't think our house is particularly large, and it isn't a separate room (the only separate rooms downstairs are the den and the laundry/bathroom). I guess I'm wondering why my house had a dining room and many of the students in my class didn't have one, or didn't even use it. I have a dining room in my apartment right now, come to think of it, but I think that's because the house I live in is really old, and dining rooms were more prevalent then. My parent's house is just a bit older than I am. Maybe people buying homes there wanted dining rooms.
Anyway, I don't think having a dining room is very practical, unless you eat all your meals there and then would have more room in the kitchen for preparing food. But I guess the point of a dining room is that you don't eat all your meals there, just when you want to be a little fancier. I tend to think that fanciness is a state of mind more than a state of dress... but how we dress can influence our behavior too.
Another thing that came up in class was parts of the play that bothered us. I remembered one scene where a woman is hostessing a birthday party for her son and the whole time is talking to one kid's dad about the affair they're having. While I was reading it, I was amused. But when I was talking about it in class, I was not compassionate at all. I was like "WHY would people have KIDS if they're not going to take care of them? That's so SELFISH. It really bothers me." And I realized that it wasn't the book I was upset about, it was the cases from work that I thought back on. Where kids are coached to say mean things about one parent, or have to visit an abusive parent. It upsets me most when parents are mean or negligent to their own children. It upsets me even more when an abusive parent thinks she's actually helping.