Monday, March 26, 2007

Critics - and "The phone is a joke, right?!?"

Poor NoImpactMan! Really, my heart goes out; he talks today about the hate mail he's received as a result of the NYT article.

Uzis to you

I'm moderating the comments on this blog, and I'll save everybody some time- I'm totally not interested in the comments of whack-job tree and people haters, and I'll just delete them as they come in, so nobody else has to read that junk. Polite discussion, polite total disagreement- fine. Statements that add up to "eat compost and die" - right back atcha. Not here.

A couple of the comments from eco-nazis were outraged that NoImpactMan was using a (GASP) ... computer!!

Oh, horrors.

Look, you nazi morons, THIS WORLD - this one, right here- is the one we have to live in. There are computers all over the place, and they are never going away. They are, in fact, with a little care, a terrifically powerful tool. I own a chainsaw, too.

So- read my "green practices" on the sidebar here. I'm off the grid. Limited power. And I do (how can you tell?) use computers. Plural. They are all notebooks- because- guess what? they use less power than desktops. And their batteries are filled up each day by... sunlight.

One of the topics I said I'd write about is "The phone's a joke, right?" This looks like the right place for it.

After we'd been living in the Little House for about 5 years, without a phone, we decided that a) we liked this life quite a bit, and b) we wanted a child, right about now. So we got ourselves pregnant, and had the child.

We're isolated- it's a good 1/2 mile to the nearest neighbor, and no guarantee they'll be home if you go. For help. Pretty quick, with a baby, we discovered there were times when we really wanted to talk to a doctor, NOW.

Unlike the power companies, that charge an arm and a leg to hook up, the phone company here is a real co-op. It was inexpensive, and painless to get a line buried in here, and in fact our membership now pays dividends. And the doctor became a phone call away.

One of my grad school buddies came to visit, and saw the phone, hanging on the wall.

He totally cracked up. Thought it was the funniest bit of humor he'd ever seen. So sly, so droll of us to put in a fake phone. So to play up to the joke, he walked over, and picked up the phone.... and it was live, with a dial tone.

As amused as he had been before discovering the dial tone, he was that outraged after. Furious. "How can you be such hypocrites-!!" Really angry, because he'd admired us for "dropping out", and now we were "selling out."

We were never dropping out, is the thing. We still intend to be part of THIS world. Just on our terms, not stuffed in Little Boxes On The Hillside.

Lots of folks somehow get the idea that since we live in a log cabin, without grid electricity, etc, therefore we must DISAPPROVE of the rest of the world. And them. No, we don't.

The world is what it is. We are what we are. You should be what you want to be.

It's really that simple, but there are a bunch of folks who will never believe you mean it- because they, themselves do not approve of that kind of personal freedom. They believe you should be free to do what they tell you is the right thing.

Let them eat compost.

Yup, we live this way because it makes us unhappy to live in a fashion so wasteful that ten families in India could live for a month on one week of our trash.

That's wrong. And bad. Personally, I'd add "shameful" to the list of adjectives. But I personally have no expectation that everyone else will suddenly see things just as we do. We don't feel scorn for regular folks.

And no, you're not going to hear religious arguments here.

Some truths are just self evident.


antitext said...

what a great blog thus far! i look forward to reading future posts.

Lori V. said...

Greenpa, I just found your blog yesterday. I'm glad to catch it almost from inception, as I love it! You are very insightful and well-spoken. This is something I've found frothing, fuming people to be incapable of most times; it's nice to find someone capable of civility.

Claudia said...

I'm really enjoying your blog. Your lifestyle is so much like the way we used to live at our lake cabin in Pennsylvania when I was growing up -- my dad would also head down for longer stays, year-round. Our cabin had an outhouse and no running water -- we washed with water from the lake, and collected drinking water from a natural spring nearby. We did bring in electricity for a refrigerator, but I've also stayed at cabins without.

In that kind of environment I've always found you experience the ordinary human pleasures of living in a much more immediate way -- hot vs. cold, day vs. night, hungry vs. full, working vs. resting. In modern life all these variables are damped down to a dull monotone of sameness.

I remember once acquaintances of my dad from work (doctors) came to visit, with their young daughter. They saw the outhouse (a perfectly respectable one) refused to let her use it, and actually left instead. That made a big impression on me. In Norway, where I spent half my childhood, cabins with outhouses were pretty standard, even part of the good middle-class life that everyone hoped for. But the US is very different, the good life has meant something else here. Sadly, even Norway is changing in that direction.

We now have a second cabin on that property, with running water. This wasn't our preference, but part of a deal to get the rest of the lake residents to stop dumping their sewage (from flush toilets and washing machines) straight into the lake. The legal agreement was that everyone had to be hooked up to the sewage system. In fact, our outhouse -- still standing -- is technically illegal.

gina said...

if you're adding shameful to the list, there does seem to be a level of scorn. perhaps you are not proselytizing to "the others," but "wrong, bad & shameful" are loaded language ;)

Greenpa said...

Gina- always possible, but still your statements startled me a little. I think the shameful really only refers to me; I would be ashamed. And bad and wrong- I'm referring to societal directions. I really don't blame people for what they are taught, anymore than I'd look down on someone for being born oh, say, Catholic, and continuing to live as one -but I do blame societal leaders for failing to choose good directions. That's who I do feel scorn for.