Thursday, August 23, 2007

I am living too late

It would seem that with all of the technology that surrounds us every day, driving us all to be busier, that we would all be happpier if we could just slow down and live. The vast majority of Americans are caught up in the idea that more is better...more money, more car, more house, more activities away from the home...I mean, come on! Do we really need to be able to watch tv on our phones?

Personally, I would be perfectly happy living in a modest sized house on a few acres far away from any Walmart where I can grow a nice little garden and watch the birds and squirrels from my window. All of those 45 minute commutes to work every day are bad for us. And I am not even talking about the gas prices. Stress and heart disease are killers. And the bad thing is, we do it to ourselves. Even though my husband can see his office from our front yard, he still telecommutes into work every day. As far as I can tell, that is just perfect.

I grew up out in the middle of nowhere. My mother called it a play farm. You know the kind, just enough acreage and critters to be a pain but not enough to make any money. We had a garden that was about 3/4 acre filled with every kind of vegetable that we would actually eat. My brother and I got to spend our summers off from school picking garden. After we spent all morning picking beans, squash, tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, melons, and whatever else caught Dad's attention in the seed catalogs, we got to enjoy spending the afternoons, snapping or shelling beans, canning, feeding the chickens and pigs, gathering eggs, and all of the other assorted chores.

In the fall, it was cutting wood and picking apples. Being a girl, my dad would not let me run the chainsaw, but I did have to pull all of the poison ivy off of the felled trees since my mom and I are not allergic. In the winter, we would kill a pig and a cow and spend 2 weekends cutting meat and putting it in the freezer. (the chickens we did in the summer...Ahh the smell of hot wet chicken feathers!) Dad wasn't the best meat cutter around so we had some really strange looking cuts of meat. If we couldn't tell what it was supposed to be, we gave it a generic label of "steak" or "roast" depending on how thick it was. Any pieces too small to be "steak" became hamburger or sausage.

One of my parent's friends had a milk cow. We had chickens. 2 dozen eggs = 1 gallon of milk. I was in high school before I ever bought a gallon of milk in a plastic jug. I had always gotten it out of a pickle jar and had to shake it up first. Lunch meat came wrapped in waxed paper from the gas station up on the hill and was less than $1 a pound. Bacon always had a rind on it. And pies were always made with fresh fruit. Picking soda bottles off of the side of the road was our allowance.

We went to town once a week and that was to go to the bank. And maybe the grocery store for coffee, sugar, cereal, tea, and if we were lucky, sodas. We almost never bought any of that "Chinese Crap" that my dad was so dead set against.

Like kids everywhere, we griped about having to do chores, but we did them because if we didn't, we got our backsides tanned. We lived without gameboys and i-pods, cell phones, cable tv, computers, and *gasp* we didn't have a microwave oven (called a "Radarange) until I was a teenager.

We didn't feel like we didn't have much. We had plenty of food, a decent house, wood heat for when the power went out, and each other. I really miss it. I griped about it at the time, but ya know, I was a happy kid. I am not mal-adjusted because I got my butt whupped a few times. I don't need a new car every 3 or 4 years. My cell phone is almost 4 years old but it still works so why spend $200 on a new one.

We, as a society, spend way too much time listening to advertising. We don't gotta have the I-phone. Geesh, I don't watch tv at home. Why would I want to watch it on a 2 inch screen while I am riding the non-existent public transit? We all just need to unplug for a day. No computers, tvs, cell phones, conference calls, soccer practice, ipods, or SUV's. Just sit in your favorite green place and watch the birds.

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