It’s cool enough inside now to be wearing three layers — sometimes. Still warm enough outside to make plants get thirsty and look distressed sooner than later. It’s that desert dry thing — It’s hot, but it’s a dry heat. It’s not all that hot now, but it is still dry and it is hot enough that two of the layers from inside aren’t happy-makers going outside, so get pealed off on the trip out unless it’s just to throw some kitchen scraps in the trench for composting — that only takes seconds but the remaining heat is that quickly realized and is enough to make the going back in a little less chilling.
The reason three layers are necessary is because the owner is doing the best possible to not use energy if it absolutely isn’t necessary — clothes first — space heaters next.
A new space heater was purchased lately — the kind with a ceramic element — because all of the other less-than-well-made ones bit the dust and don’t seem repairable. It will be put off being used until the cool just can’t be stood any more and no amount of clothes on clothes will keep the temperature under them warmer than outside of them before needing to shiver.
It is being wondered lately why this behavior is important because there will soon be a little extra money that could be used for heating — but would that be a waste and could it be better spent, say like on a new roof? What was the reason for being this austere in the first place?
Here’s an account:
Being raised what was considered poor, (by others who were far more well-off), doing without was the norm. Clothes were hung on lines unless it was raining and once in awhile if it was critical and the mother was worried that rain wouldn’t quit quickly enough to keep the washed clothes from getting mildewed, she’d drive the young daughters, with the wet clothes, a mile or so away to a nearby laundromat and the young girls would wait for the clothes to dry in driers while the mother went back home to keep on doing weekend chores. She’d drive the car, (a big, baby-blue Buick), back to pick them up later. There were candy bars involved because the laundromat was stuck on the side of a five and dime store. In those days, candy bars cost pennies instead of dollars and even though even pennies were tight, somehow they managed to eek out enough to splurge on one each to keep them entertained while they waited — the American sugar way. Drying clothes was thereby considered a fun event. The problem of sugar addiction could be dealt with later once it was brought to their attention that it was not a health food — many, many years later.
By the time 19 years of age was achieved, it was expected that the 19 year old would either pay rent or move out. Moving out seemed more exciting. Working in those days yielded somewhere around $400 a month and at least a forth of that went to rent. The rest was gas and food and utilities and renting a refrigerator from her landlord because there wasn’t enough money to buy one — that rent was a dollar or two — but things add up when all you have is $400 of them. There was only enough money to buy furniture on credit — so that’s when debting started.
Before long, that working thing got more and more dismal. The work was inside a warehouse building that had two stories, one for storing and one for selling furniture. There were no windows on the selling floor and selling would be the method of earning the best living. The only time the Sun was seen was when going out for lunch — and more often than not, lunch was brought or gotten from revolving vending machines with cottage cheese and sandwiches. Even making what seemed like lots of money, fully lost it’s charm.
Several jobs later, work being still dismal and decidedly uneventful other than looking at pretty things while designing — the, by then, 30 something person was fully disillusioned. Other than boys and dancing, nothing was much fun and boys were losing their charm too and dancing was easier with them than without them, so once boys were out of the equation, so was dancing. Some other kind of fun was being looked for. Buying a house was starting to gain some charm and a way of making the less than millions work a little for their making and keeping — more debt and credit kind of thinking — the American sugar kind of way. Money was then started to be stored for a better future.
So, the 50s were for arriving and being and growing and thinking all of life would be like Wally’s and the Beaver’s or Donna Reed’s — the 60s were for what was thought to be Antidisestablishmentarianism but was really flower power and wanting to be a hippie but missing it by just an inch or two — the 70s were for moving out from home, gas wars and the start of the demise of any catching up by earning money, (inflation – Reaganomics) — the 80s were for boys and dancing and a silver heist, (the greedy Hunt brother’s), that left the mother’s little fortune, (she had built up to help her daughters), destroyed and her in a deep depression — the 90s for trying to help the mother get out of that depression for a few years before her bad health, (due to depression), took the rest of it — the 00s were for 911 and all the chaos after that and living in the house that had been bought in the late 90s.
Fight or flight put survival thinking on the radar.
And, of course, work being fully dismal and disillusionment of work being any kind of potential for future rescue, the thought that it could be was henceforth and quickly, therefore abolished. Bosses were all men in high-end loafers, driving Maseratis, pawing girls and holding their noses up to the sky while stealing all the wealth of all nations.
What was very clear by then was that exchanging life for money was an utter waste so cutting back on what was needed was the only way to rescue oneself from falling in a giant sucking hole of dismal living.
It might very well be that there are those who love their work and find great satisfaction in it. It’s hard to imagine that any scenario where someone else is making sure another is doing something right is a less-than-desirable situation to find oneself in unless that one is unable to make decisions for their own best interest — and that’s not this one.
Austerity allows for the time to spend listening to birds, watering a little volunteer tomato plant that is discovered, (while looking out the window while typing this), of being in distress and can thereby be immediately attended to — and for sewing clothes that one is designing in their head now that it is cooler and something quilted for a housecoat might be handy.
And that’s how voluntary radical simplicity was decided. No more need to appease greedy men in high-end loafers driving Maseratis.