I’ve been noticing lately that there seems to have been a subtle shift, socially, from the whole “technology will save us!” mentality to something more along the lines of “maybe technology is slowly killing us!” We’re being encouraged from every side (well, every side but the one bordered by Big Grocery and Big Oil, perhaps) to eat food that we can recognize and know from whence it came, to clean with products that don’t contain formaldehyde, to turn off the Blackberrys and turn our backs on Twitter and hang our laundry to dry in the great outdoors. I’m certainly not immune to it, and I’m trying to find ways to embrace this line of thought in my own life because, you know, there’s something very satisfying about it.
I tend to complicate things unnecessarily with to-do lists and anxiety and thoughts of details and deadlines, but I’m learning – gradually – to find the joy of simpler things. I know that sounds like something that should be cross-stitched and hung above a floral-printed couch in your grandmother’s house, but I stand by it, because I think it’s important to say even if I haven’t said it very eloquently. It’s maybe easier for me to say this since I can (to some degree) set my own schedule and I don’t have kids to chase after, but I don’t like the way we live our lives, running from meetings to appointments, doing our best to make sure our lawns don’t look like Nicolas Cage’s head before the hairplugs really grabbed on, carving out a few hours to watch keep up with a t.v. schedule that we’ve ascribed some sort of weird urgency to, never knowing our neighbours, never noticing or savouring the sacred moments because we’re already on our way to devouring the next one.
Lately, I’m cooking more from scratch (the tzatziki I made last weekend was a revelation, if I do say so myself), I’m trying to figure out a way to conquer my fear of the busy, traffic-saturated roads that border our subdivision and ride my bike places I actually need to go, and I got a strange rush of pleasure when I bought rhubarb at the market on the weekend, because the rhubarb came from Wroxeter … I know Wroxeter, because we always drove through it on the trip from my parents’ house to Camp Hermosa, and it was strangely gratifying to chat with the farmer that had planted and harvested the rhubarb about the amusing status his little town has as a “former ghost town”. It made me feel connected, which was a nice feeling, because connected is something I don’t feel all that often when I’m holed up in my office by myself day in and day out.
I’m off to Ottawa tomorrow for a long weekend with Kate, and I’m taking the train by myself. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of travelling by myself (there are so many things that can go wrong, and I get myself worked up imagining them, as though I’m changing trains in Baghdad rather than in Toronto), but I think this time around, it’s a little different. I’ll have my laptop and a little bit of editing to do, and I’ll have a good book or two, but more than that I’ll have several hours where the only thing I have to get done – the only thing I can get done, really – is watch the countryside speed by. I’m looking forward to that.