A couple of years ago we were on a ranch in South Texas talking to the landowners about what else? Deer, of course. On this occasion, the landowner was complaining that, due to the deer having plentiful natural food sources, they were not coming out into the open where he could see them. He said, “This is the first time I can ever remember being bored in the deer blind.” I commented that maybe he should learn to knit, as that is what I do in the deer blind (and everywhere else) and I am NEVER bored. He said he would stick with playing games on his iPhone. I pointed out to him that at the end of the day I have a new sock and asked what does he have?
Last night I was sitting in front of Stripes while my son was inside getting a couple of Subway pizzas for us to take home. I had my little portable light clamped on the seatbelt across my chest to illuminate the Hawaiian applique project I have been working on. My friend Angela came out of the store to say hello and asked me what I was doing. She said, “You always have something you are working on, don’t you?” I said, “Since I was about ten years old!”
I got up early Sunday morning to dead silence in my house. The storm had knocked out our electricity sometime in the night, leaving us without whirring refrigerator motors, humming heaters, television, radio, or computers. It is always a shock to me to realize just how much background noise we have in life that we do not even hear any more. Thankfully, I have a gas stove and I had purchased a stove-top percolator a while back. I struck a match to light the flame under the coffee pot and my son commented on how strange it was for the stove to light silently instead of hearing the click-click-click of the electronic sparker that usually provides the fire.
We ate our eggs without toast as no one felt like toasting the bread over the stove burner. We sat at the end of table nearest the window so we would have some light to see our plates. My son commented that he liked having occasional power outages to remind us of reality—to force us to see how dependent on conveniences we have become. My routine was totally disrupted. I could not check my email, I could not watch the news and Sunday Morning. I could not iron my clothes for church. What I DID have was lots of time….time to read, knit, sew (by hand), converse, clean, or to go outside, which I did.
I have heard about a couple of books, “Supersize Me” and “Overdressed,” that point out how fast-food and fast-fashion have ruined our ability to feed and dress ourselves well. The books claim that we have turned into bottomless pit consumers always needing more, more, more to fill our cravings. One solution on the food side is to grow and cook your own food, or at least start with fresh, whole ingredients. The idea is to re-learn what real food, as opposed to processed food, tastes like. One solution on the clothing side is to make some of your own clothing by sewing, knitting, crocheting, or even spinning and weaving. Going through the process of making your own clothing just naturally changes how you look at the garments you see in the stores.
Of course, the response to the above suggestions is always something along the lines of “Who has time for that?” My answer is, “You do.” This coming weekend, pretend that your electricity is off and that your car will not work either. You will discover a treasure-trove of time you never knew you had. What will you do with that time? Will you complain about being bored or will you find a way to entertain yourself constructively as in having a real conversation with someone, reading a good book, preparing a meal the old-fashioned way, handwriting a letter, or maybe even making something with your hands? Please keep in mind that I am the pot calling the kettle black on almost all of this as I am as guilty as the next person of letting modern conveniences and pressures dictate my life. I had my little taste of “reality” yesterday to remind me of how much time I waste. Would you have the same result?