Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Day's Thoughts (1985)

1. I have two little dogs who make it very hard to write. They are unreasonably jealous of two of my favorite pastimes: reading and writing. How can four things so dear to me be so incompatible? Well, at least my dogs don't inhibit another of my priorities -- sleeping. They enjoy it too.

2. I love to sleep late. That's been my attitude for as long as I can remember. I'll always forgo wearing make up or ironing my clothing if only for ten minutes more rest. I'd rather have to rush than awaken just enough earlier to afford me a bit of leisure in the morning. Consciously I agree with all those who have told me how stupid that is, and nearly every day I resolve that tomorrow will be different, but I'm not very rational at 6  a.m.! If I could, I'd stay up late every night and sleep 'til noon every day. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who needs a lot of sleep, doesn't (and doesn't want to) work second shift, and has to work.

3. Working. True, it does give one some sense of accomplishment. I saw some television documentary the other day about women in the work force and I had to laugh when they talked about how much women love working. I'm as much of a feminist as the next person, but I don't understand how anyone can contend that either men or women actually enjoy laboring for others. I'm not pretending that women would rather stay home while men work, as in the '50s, but it strikes me as stupid to suppose that there are very many of us who prefer working to leisure. Realistically, don't we all work because we need money?

4. Some time ago I would have viciously attacked anyone who suggested that I even liked money. I still don't pretend to be one of the materialistic types whose goals in life revolve around gaining status symbols. I like to be comfortable, but I have a somewhat different view of status than many who live in this area...the affluent northern suburbs of New York City. I think status is a good education; I'm not impressed by a Jaguar. Still, I seem to have an overwhelming need for legal tender -- money to pay the rent and electric bill, a healthy checkbook with which to buy milk and bread and artichoke hearts in olive oil.

5. Why is it that so much of the food found in the supermarket is packaged in disposable containers? Every week I haul out at least one of those green plastic garbage bags to be miraculously carried away and laid to rest in some unknown place. Wouldn't it be better if stores sold food and the consumer had to provide the container? That seems like a good idea, considering the diminishing amount of space available for landfills. "Landfill," now there's a euphemism for you. I remember in my hometown we called it a dump.

6. Judging from the pattern I've established I suppose euphemisms are the next topic. It's true that I dislike them. Now why didn't I substitute the words "hate," "funny" and "write" in that last sentence?

7. Isn't it funny how hypocritical we all are...even me:
  • I say I hate television, yet once we got one I watch it too much.
  • I sneer at money, but I'd love to have a new car and fashionable clothing attracts me.
  • I laughed at "them" when they complained about taxes, but don't I feel resentment when I see all that money deducted from my pay?
Sometimes I wonder if life's experiences make all of us into conformists...into (gasp) conservatives. Then again, life experience has only reinforced my commitment to certain issues.

8. Speaking of movements, I've recently ascribed to the cause of animal rights. I feel strongly that we have no right to exploit those that have no voice of their own. That brings be back to my two dear little dogs.

Added 2011: Yesterday I heard that Andy Rooney is retiring on Sunday (at age 92!). So I was delighted to run across something I wrote more than half my life ago sort of in his style.

#1 is still true - but composing on the structure of a keyboard rather than with a pen in a notebook on the couch really tamps down the interference from the dogs, and with my own house and a fenced yard, I've gradually moved to larger dogs over the years - they are not quite as needy as Howie and Penny were.

#2 -- well, at some point not long after I wrote that paragraph I gave up on make-up entirely, and not because of time restrictions. Then about ten years ago I landed on a profession that didn't require me to groove with the 9-5 world.

About #3 I would say that I hit the nail on the head -- except that with aging, accomplishment and education, has come much more enjoyable work. Leisure is still better, though.

#4 is also still right on, but now I know that in a learning society, it isn't just money and material objects that determine status, but education and credentials. So despite my demeanor and humble external circumstances, people learn I have a PhD, and I am immediately elevated from --- what, I wonder? Stewarts' associate to learned professor? Suddenly I am a more worthy person. The voice in my head shouts "isn't there dignity in all work and in all workers?" (You see, that 24-year-old is still in there somewhere.) I often tell this to students during our discussions of economics of education, and get laughs. Finally, continuing with #4, still love those artichoke hearts!

#5 -- I was into sustainability before it was cool.

What the h-ll did I mean by that last sentence in #6? I can "see" myself smiling as I wrote it, presenting the reader with a puzzle.

#7 is even more true today than it was then (except the new car part. Don't care; probably didn't then, either, just wrote it to make a common connection).

And #8! Well, once again, it's more true now than it was then, if that is even possible.

Unrelated: meeting three friends who are former colleagues from my System days tonight for dinner. Really looking forward to it!

Also: Something to do with #8...I don't live in Albany County but this is awesome. I hope it passes, and other counties copy the law.

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