Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I've gone soft, in my old age. I used to be hardcore anti-obsolescence. I'd eat apple cores and orange peels. I'd shop at Salvation Army and consignment stores. I'd wear clothes until they were too worn out to hold together. I once wore the same tampon for 3 days. (I was at camp. In retrospect, I should have gone to the nurse instead of washing it in the shower, but that isn't what "hardcore" means.)

I'd quietly disdain the overconsumption my friends and others indulged in ("You need a car, and your sister and parents need cars?"). I publically mocked the smartboard my math teacher got to replace the previously sufficient whiteboard*. I put things I wanted on a list each week, and if they kept showing up on the list I'd buy them. I'd salvage things from the sidewalk to decorate my bedroom (I'm still sad that someone threw away my pair of arched mirrors when we moved.). Hardcore.

What changed? I think my priorities are different. It's okay for life to be easy, for tasks to be streamlined or done away with. That's why housework took 30 hours every week in the 60s and takes 10 hours now. Not everything has to be meaningful or precise. Sometimes things are just convenient, and it won't be that way forever, because of scarcity. Carpe diem.

I am rationalizing. But I've outgrown liking the jury-rigged, the dirty, the makeshift, the second best. I can spend that energy on maintaining worthwhile things and creating wonderful things.

*Actually I'm still not over that. That man never in his entire life lay awake at night wishing he could email his students the things he writes on the whiteboard. The smartboard, like orthodontia, creates a need where there was none. It's disgusting.

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