Maybe my desire to live a simple life is being met in ways I never considered. My computer is dying; therefore I am spending more of my time writing on paper, reading books, and doing crafts like making my dog a sweater from the sleeve of an old knit shirt: forgotten skills.
Out of necessity, I rented my first computer for college in 1999. I never wanted a computer; didn’t like them; didn’t trust them. Most importantly I hated the way they made me feel (drained, dull, and trapped.) While my son, who had just turned three at the time, seemed to have been born for computers, that was not the case with me.
When did it change then that a necessary evil, which I used to serve a specific purpose, was suddenly something I depended on for constant entertainment? When did a machine I didn’t even want become something I couldn’t live without?
As I scream in frustration while my computer freezes up for the fifth time in about an hour, I contemplate the question: What do I need it for anyway? I know that for my son, his computer is his connection to a confusing world. I think that in my case, I would live better without it. We do have a library after all, and unlike most public spaces, I enjoy spending time in there.
Then, two days ago as I was standing in the kitchen making my lunch, I heard the sound of pouring water. I turned to my left to find the dishwasher spraying water all over the now flooded floor. As I mopped it up, I again thought, “Do I really need this?”
So I cleaned the floor, and I washed the dishes by hand, and set them back in the dishwasher to dry. My hands hurt after because putting them in water makes them sting – but the kitchen was clean, and I felt really good about that.
The next day I went into town and bought myself a couple pairs of good rubber gloves. We had the repair person in (at my husband’s request) but since the seal was gone, he was unable to fix it. When I was a kid, appliances were built to last 20+ years. I am told that these days, we are lucky to have them last for 5. That makes me angry, for it isn’t about whether they can make them to last so long, but about whether they choose to – and out of greed, they don’t. It makes me angry because I save for 5-10 years, using thrift store appliances that don’t work great, trying to get enough to buy new only to find they die shortly after.
In that case, I don’t think I need a dishwasher. A good pair of rubber gloves, and a few minutes of my time, and the result is a simple solution that calms my senses. That is what I need!