Friday, January 16, 2009

Just Thoughts

I've just about had it.

I'm at the precipice.

Seriously. I think I'm entering my Solitary Yurt Dweller phase.

I watched Story of the Weeping Camel...and I felt jealous of a family of yurt-dwelling shepherds in the Gobi Desert.

Wordsworth wrote "the world is too much with us."

He was writing about the burden of self-imposed "progress"...a society spinning out of control by the force of its own innovations.

I exist in a world of periphery, and have felt for some time that that's the actual world. It's where all the Scratch-and-Dents collect to catch their breaths or be Not Quite, or to patch their wounds. It's where the clean-up seems to never end, but there is a comradery of humanity and imperfection.

What of the speeding, bleeding blur of Modernism and Progress that spews out its casualties like so much flotsam and jetsam at ever-increasing frequencies? This is not the life I can endure....tried it, but it's not sustainable, that speed, that acceleration. On the sidelines is where the real action percolates...the slower sort beyond employee of the month plaques, easier this, more convenient that, disposable everythings.

I just got back from a quick trip to... (It's becoming more bizarre)...the grocery store. Right there, above the refrigerated eggs and next to the kosher sauerkraut, a sign above a vacuum sealed stack of packaged food, "Ready-to-eat pancakes...fresher than homemade!"
(Have we truly sunk to this subterranean low of marketing suggestability??)
These were not frozen pancakes, or pancake mix, or pourable pancake batter...these were refrigerated the gourmet fridge pickles section. And just how does one get something fresher than homemade? eat it at the source before any preparation at all??

I opt out of eating live chickens or anything else fresher than homemade.

I go now to my rebellious and quickly-vanishing world of stirring my own pancakes, having a conversation on one of those old fashioned numbers called a wall phone, to catch up with people before their last names, zip codes, spouses, presidents, diseases, or jobs change again.

Here are the things I'm getting sick of being convinced I "need"...

A certain level of income.
A college degree.
Phone, any sort, especially with gadgets and options.
All on-grid appliances. Time-savers. Things with electric plugs.
More than two changes of clothes.
More than two pairs of shoes.
Makeup (that's pretty much gone now, anyway, in my case)
TVs, all electronics, including gaming and music devices.
House with mortgage. Oops, already said that!
Credit cards (even the paid-off sort), checkbooks, drivers' licenses, forms of I.D.
Entree and three vegetables three times a day.
Mail (with the exception of seed catalogs and snail mail from friends!)
Fashionable clothes.
Sheets, curtains, stuff. ( least the stuff)

I think I can do pretty well with a good sleeping bag, a can of Sterno, and couple of good pots, a roll of clothesline and the dried contents of the bottom shelf of my pantry. A good water source. Something for soaping up myself or my clothes periodically.

Oh, and some sort of gun that shoots ratshot. So I can sit on the front porch and take aim at any IPods, GIS, Blackberrys, or other atrocities of progress that parade down my street.

I hope my husband gets home soon, before he finds I've hauled all our household belongings to Goodwill, traded our house via craigslist for a year's supply of good tarps, and there's a camel standing in the empty garage.

I'm in a mood, and just in time for shabbat (and some much-needed rest...can you tell??) Let's see if this, too, shall pass.

(I secretly kind of hope not...)

Everyone have a restful shabbat...hug the ones you're with! :)
shabbat shalom!

Brief update. I've had a few hours of sleep since writing this post.... Ummmm...?? Well, I guess I explored my inner ascetic? I'd make a "kinder, gentler" list upon more rested reflection, but I do often ask myself when all these "needs" became so concrete. Not that I want to work a pump handle or haul buckets when I need water, and I sooooooo love a hot shower or bath! And that soft bed came in really handy right now, ahhh :) Well, Yurt Robbyn lurks inside to tame the more spoiled version of myself from time to time, which is a good thing. And at last check I found one happy husband relaxing in the living room, and no camel in the garage...



Later note: Thank you to Latigo Liz for this Lemonade award for Attitude/Gratitude...I'm grateful!!


Paulette said...

Yeah, I'd say you are teetering near the edge :-). But I have to agree with you on at least 1/2 of those things.

Have a very restful weekend.

Laura said...

Wow, that is a pretty impressive list of things you feel you can abandon. I try not to be consume with wanting to consume, but a couple of changes of clothing I would put as necessary, way above anything with doodads. Interestingly, one of the myriad reasons why I moved to Israel years ago (before I moved back to the states) was that I hated all of the choices and malls and time spent buying. Just to be released from that was a joy.

And Shabbat Shalom to you too.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! Very good writing Robbyn. I often feel the same and even feel humiliated to admit that I really do want and need some of the items on that list (right now, definetly the pharmaceuticals! lol).

I have done a pretty good job at paring down, though. I don't have many knick knacks and just about everything I own gets used daily or weekly.

I really can't imagine life with out my computer, especially now that I'm bedbound, too. It's my lifeline into the greater world. I've gotten to so many wonderful folks via the computer. And it's something I use every day.

This time of year is the roughest, because it' sort of like 'hump day' the middle of the week, if you will.
We're right in the middle of winter, glad to move past the busy holidays and looking forward to rebirth, change and growth...and warmth (well maybe not so much for lucky you. lol!)

Hang in there my friend. Better days are ahead.

And bah! On those 'fresh' pancakes at the grocery store. :P


Robbyn said...

Hi all...I guess I was feeling "fresher than homemade???" when writing this??? lol I'll respond to comments after shabbat,but just wanted to say I love you guys and so appreciate you! And I'm thankful for every item on that list! I'm going to have a little sit-down with Yurt Robbyn and make sure there's something else in the fridge for tonight than yak milk...heehee

Talk to you soon :) I have a hubby to go relax with!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Since I really don't speak Hebrew, I'll just say Happy Sabbath. I don't get too flapped up about all the things people think they need, but then I don't feel too bad for them when they can't pay their ARM because they got in over their head, either. I do get tired of people and noise, though, and sometimes think I could spend the rest of my life with animals and hobbies and forego being with people altogether. Snailmail, email, blogs and a telephone would suffice for the human contact I enjoy. (Goodness, can you tell that 24/7 parenthood and homeschooling is getting to me?)

San Diego Farmgirl said...

I think many of us are feeling the same, Robbyn. I know I've shed many of my "needs" over the past year or two:
1. a car (in Southern California, even!)
2. fake nails
3. cable TV
4. high heels
5. bars & expensive restaurants

Man, to think of all those teenage years I wasted dreaming about these things, only to ultimately reject them ... LOL!

Latigo Liz said...

Come get yer lemonade!

Brenda@View From The Pines said...

How funny! I just posted today about the hell I find myself in while out in public around cell phones!

Annette said...

Funny, I was just mentioning this to my mom the other day, looking at the vast array of "convenience" items at the store: peeled hard boiled eggs, meals in a box, frozen pancakes, but the best and most head scratching was the pancake batter in a can. Like mousse for your hair, but pancake batter instead. I'm tempted to buy one just to test it and post it on my blog.

Killi said...

I WANT MY VARDO! I've also had a horse in my garage...

Shelby said...

fresher than homemade. unbelievable. you know what it is? insulting. that's what it is. that is probably why you're so in a state.

i get that way too. just give me some sweats, a coat, a brush and a ponytail, soap, some water, crackers, ginger ale and a couple big pots for cooking (maybe a spoon).. and most of the rest is simply icing on the cake.

let's get back to the basics of life.

i hear the message you're trying to convey.

hickchick said...

I think most marketing executives think we are IDIOTS! And maybe we are if we are buying what they are selling.

mommymommyland said...

Ha Ha ha! For the pancakes. When I saw they had pancake batter available in an aerosol can ( like whipped cream) I thought I had died laughing, the poor guy at Costco at the sample booth must have thought I was crazy, but really how hard is it to make real pancakes? Its a whole 6 ingredients!!!

warren said...

"fresher than homemade"...isn't that priceless? Just don't buy into it (I know you won't). Isn't it a shame that so many do...

Mrs Flam said...

I did that hermit on the woods thing , i would gladly set everything aside again to return to it *sighs* But I have children now. I miss it every day , a life of simplicity ...

EJ said...

i go thru phases of wanting to do this, too. But working from home plus trying to live as self sufficiently as possible make it hard. Perhaps a purge is due, tho.

heres someone who is really doing it:

Killi said...

Pancakes ~ 6 ingredients? I use 4oz flour, 1/2pt milk, 1 egg: mix together into a smooth batter, cook in a hot oiled pan

Lauriebelle said...

LOL...I love this post!

My husband and I were just discussing this earlier this evening... It's so true that when we really look at the items we have and ask ourselves, "do I even care about this?"...that with most of it the answer is "No".

It's something I'm going to really think about further... Thanks!

Robbyn said...

Michelle, I do appreciate staying in touch via computer and phone, too :) Sometimes I'm just amazed at how many things I've come to think of as needs rather than wants,and with the explosion in types of electronic things, I think I just fell off the turnip truck. I've reached my saturation point with all the technology...

SDFarmgirl, each of those things are important moves to a whole different point of reference. I had to draw the line years ago with going to the hair dresser for hair coloring and certain cuts, never started into the nails but so wanted to, and spent a lot of money on clothes over the years. At first necessity dictated I halt a lot of it and I felt deprived. Now I don't feel deprived...I feel freer. That's an important difference because I made the choice myself and killing myself to afford the other things makes no sense to our world now :)

Liz, thank you, what an honor :) :)

Brenda, I'll have to read it! I am so not into the latest gadgets...I'm fast becoming the old coot who refuses to upgrade, ha!

Annette, I'd be interested in seeing your review, and also seeing how it works as hair mousse, too...ha!

Killi...don't laugh. I've looked at the gypsy wagons. Good thing my husband looks at me very strangely sometimes or I might be living in one right now! heehee (I'm not even kidding...)

Shelby, I think we need to make Tshirts that say Fresher Than Homemade.... makes a lot more sense than plastic pancakes ;-)

Hickchick...look what the colleges are turning out now ;-)

Mommymommy...yeah, that makes Bisquick look like a museum artifact... ;-)

Warren...ya think this is what we get for lowering the graduation testing requirements for high school too many years running?? ha

Mrs Flam, I hear you! I do love having a home, even though I get these gypsy wandering/hermit urges pretty strongly. Kids are the very best reason to make home a warm place to be :)

EJ, I'll check out the link, thanks! Working at home is ultimately what we hope to do as much as possible, but we're hoping that means more or less on less money-dependent basis and more on a self sustaining one...don't know if we'll get all the way there, but we can get a lot closer :)

Killi...yeah, but is it FRESHER THAN HOMEMADE??? (sorry, still laughing over that one, heehee)

Lauriebell...sometimes I get a little OCD about it and get rid of a lot. I feel a purge coming on. Stop short of giving your husband away to Goodwill, though, lol! ;-)

Killi said...

I wasn't laughing at you ~ I really do want my rigs over here, even if I can't go a-wandering with Annon in school though she finishes for the year in just over 4 months!

When we moved to Somerset we lived in a tent for several weeks whilst looking at houses...

I wonder what trading standards would say about plastic pancakes being "fresher than homemade".

Robbyn said... sounds like sooo much fun :)

Killi said...

Would have been better if then husband had been a decent person! When looking for places here, we stayed in hostels & b&bs as I travel with a rucksack only to hold everything & it's not a big rucksack. I can only travel with what I can carry by myself, especially when travelling across the country! & Wellies took up most of the room...