Saturday, May 21, 2011

Living in a Bygone Era

Damned blogger. Now, it won't let me enter a picture with my blog. Anyway.

When I went to that ghost town a few weeks ago and took those great sepia-tone photos, a yearning awakened that I've always had, to go backwards in time.

1890-1910 works for me. Whenever I tell my friends this I get, "Life was so hard back then." Or "People didn't have anything like they do now."

But all of that is relative. How can you miss luxury items that back then, no one had? You can't miss what you have never have known.

Think how nice the absence of technology would have been. No cell, no computers. If someone wanted to contact you, he had to write a letter. You could answer then on your OWN TIME. The lack of bills you would have had. Your only bill would be your tax payment (if you owned the land), and whatever you might have had to charge at a merchantile, that's it.

Coffee in hand this morning, as I begin to read We Went into the Woods, I wonder what things I would miss, how life would really be.

The only two things I would miss would be a fridge and gas stove, which, at least the cookstove would have been available back then, so that leaves only the fridge, which means, to accomodate, you would have eaten differently. More pantry food, whatever's handy, non-perishable left-overs and no cold food, so more of these foods: bread, crackers, cheese, canned food.

That's not a bad trade off.

The only thing I would miss would be able to write as much as I do now, and to read and live in close proximity to a library.

However, I'd be so busy working at many tasks which would tire me out, so I wouldn't really have the time for those things anyway, except maybe at night by kerosene lamp for one hour. And at only 30 min. a night to read, one book would last a long time.

From what I can perceive, the two biggest time-draining pain in the ass things you would have had to have done daily would have been 1. endlessly chopping of wood 2. finding a daily staple (either shooting something or harvesting a grain and garden) and 3. collecting water/laundry. If you had a partner or friend, together those tasks could be greatly lessened. I think living alone as a woman or man would have been close to impossible. The more the merrier. If there were 3-4 of you, and you all remained childless, the easier the tasks would have been to spread out amongst everyone.

Loneliness and isolation wouldn't have been an issue for me, especially if I already had a partner or two working with me. I could always walk to town once every month or two, yack it up, get some kerosene, mail and coffee then split.

Things I would have to have had: a dairy cow (cheese to eat and sell) and a still (booze to drink and sell on the Q.T., maybe to other women marketed as "Natalie's Women's Medicine for Headaches").

What things would you absolutely have to have? What could you do without? What would you have been good at or sucked at?

1 comment:

nate said...

Blogger's pissing me off. Sorry for the two misspelled words and lack of picture. Blogger will not let me fix either right now.