The 2,154-word house-share ad
Minda, a radical vegan activist, says his demands for a new housemate, which include fines for ignoring the spiritual side of life, are about harmony, not control
By the book: Mindaugas (centre) with his housemates Boran and Alex. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
For a household dedicated to harmony, understanding and the cultivation of inner peace, the front door at No 9 is not an especially inviting place to come knocking. The facade of this terraced house, on a quiet cul-de-sac in Bray, is shabby and unpainted, an unsightly blot on an otherwise well-kept street. On the front lawn a hatchback is sitting up on blocks, its tyres removed.
I’m greeted at the door by 34-year-old Mindaugas – Minda, for short. A butcher turned radical vegan activist, he is tall and broad, with a warm smile that belies the quiet forcefulness of the personality beneath.
I ask how the residents at No 9 get along with their neighbours. He shrugs in a way that suggests the answer is “not very well”. “This fellow is pretty good here,” he replies, nodding towards one of the adjacent doors. “The others are a little closed-minded, unfortunately.”
What am I doing here? Two weeks ago this Lithuanian part-time delivery man posted an extraordinary room-to-let ad on myhome.ie. The advertisement ran to 2,154 words, outlining myriad exacting rules and regulations that he believes to be necessary for running a household in harmony both with itself and with nature.
These included a Byzantine system of financial incentives and penalties that potential room-mates would have to agree to, designed to encourage practices such as t’ai-chi, “mindfulness” and “consciousness” while discouraging such undesirable activities as ownership of non-electric cars and consumption of all meat and dairy products. Candidates would be obliged to choose, for example, between participating in the “daily practice of spirituality” or paying a €40 monthly penalty until they got “more info about spiritual life”.
The ad immediately went viral on Facebook and Twitter. Ecofascism was one common charge. “This is a cult, right?” someone else asked, incredulously. The comedian David O’Doherty marvelled at what he called the most complicated house- share ad ever.
Although Minda followed the comments online, he seems unfazed by the mirth his ad elicited. “People’s scepticism is understandable, because we’re pioneering something very unusual. But overall, I think, the reaction was positive.”
Has he had any expressions of interest from potential housemates? “Three,” he says. “Which I will now have to filter through.”
He has invited me to visit the house and see how it works. And I’ve arrived determined to approach the place with an open mind.
In the kitchen Minda’s long-haired housemates are sitting down to breakfast. Based on their ages, and the fact that we’re meeting early on a Sunday morning, you might expect one or two to be nursing hangovers. But this is a teetotal house.