Thursday, January 01, 2009

Essentials Schmessentials

Hat tip to Pandagon for this one. According to the Pew Research Center the list of things Americans (meaning people living in the USA) consider essential is growing. Their list in order of necessity, and my $.02:
  • Car. Unfortunately yes. I have nothing against bicycles, but I live 8 miles from town, 10 miles from the transit hub. Via a busy 2-lane road with little to no shoulder. And it rains here. Hard. A lot.
  • Clothes Washer. Yes. It's a quality of life thing.Nearly every item of clothing I own is washable, including most things that say "dry clean only". And again, it's about10 miles to the nearest coin laundry.
  • Clothes Dryer. I have one and use it but I could get along without it. I already dry quite a bit of my clothing on racks.
  • Home Air Conditioning. Don't have it, don't miss it. That says more about the Tiger Mountain microclimate than it does about my stoicism in the face of a heatwave.
  • Microwave. Have one but I consider it a convenience more than an essential.
  • TV set. Does it count if there's no antenna so it can only be used for watching movies? My next computer monitor will be both larger and more clear, so the TV set can get the boot.
  • Car Air Conditioning. I'm glad I have it, but I grew up with the "Model 460 A/C" (all four windows rolled down and 60 mph) and it wasn't so bad. See local microclimate above.
  • Home Computer. Oh yes. It lets me work from home, thus saving me a lot of commute time and driving in general.
  • Cell Phone. My employer says yes, so I guess it's a necessity. Most of the people who work for or with me are a couple of time zones away, so the phone gets used a lot. Also I wouldn't know what's going on in younger daughter's life if she couldn't text me.
  • Dishwasher. I love it but I could live without it.
  • Cable or Satellite TV. Don't have it, don't want it.
  • High Speed Internet. See home computer, above.
  • Flat Screen TV. Don't have it don't want it. Love my flat screen computer monitor, though.
  • iPod. Seriously? Okay, I admit it, I deeply covet YD's iPod Touch, which came free with her laptop. But not enough to go out and buy one of my own. I do have an inexpensive MP3 player with FM radio, and it's the radio part that I consider essential. During last year's lengthy power outage it was our only source of information about road conditions, school closings, etc.
Because I consider so few things on that list essential, I believe I'm entitled to add a few essentials of my own:
  • Land of my own (without restrictive covenants). Land that I can use for planting a garden, raising chickens, hanging clothes out to dry, and just providing an escape from the unnatural world.
  • A wood-burning stove. Not just for power outages, either. There's just no heat like the heat that comes from a wood fire.
  • Endless running water. When the power goes out so does our well. It's nice to be able to fetch buckets from the creek to flush the toilet, and wash ourselves.
  • A cat or two. I've had a cat or two or more for all but a few years in my life, and those were not the best years.
How about you? What's essential to your everyday life?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to leave a comment since I agree with so many things you stated on this post. I could do without tv and rarely watch the ONE we do have. But do not even try to take away my high speed internet! I only wish we had more land to garden/farm on and a wood burning stove would be just amazing right now. Electric heaters are the pits.

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. It is nice to meet another Pacific Northwestern. :)

05 January, 2009 20:27  
Blogger Wissh said...

As I read your list, my mind wandered through time and I noted how my answers are different now than even 10 years ago, let alone 30.
Hi, it's nice to see you again. Thanks for the noodge in. I will try to get caught up.
BTW, my son got the ipod touch free with his computer too. I found it interesting that you also gave it to YD rather than keeping it for yourself. =)

09 January, 2009 19:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Molly, I'm totally on board with 3 of your 4 items, but instead of 'cats' can I put 'dogs'instead? in which case I now have the first 2, working on rain and snow catchment for #3, and have #4!

11 January, 2009 07:54  
Blogger Just Jenn said...

I would think food preservation would at least *make* the list if not top it some where... so uh, fridge/freezer! Of course a lot of the other things can easily be done without. TV's, cable, even (dare I say it?) the internet! Also hailing from the PNW a clothes dryer is pretty convenient. It's not exactly like you can hang it outside to dry all but two months of the year - otherwise that pesky liquid sunshine would be sure to dampen your spirits... ;^)

09 February, 2009 20:48  

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