Joni Mitchell was right; you don’t know what you have till it’s gone. The past couple of weeks it has rained pretty much nonstop. I feel like we’re back in my wife’s hometown of Hazel Dell, a suburb of Portland. Never knew how people could live there, too freeking rainy. The big difference between here (San Francisco area) and there is that we get breaks between showers. They can go for literally weeks without seeing the sun.
Today we had a break for a couple of hours and I took a walk. There were kids out playing on their skateboards, women washing dogs, others taking walks or riding bikes. It was like the old Chicago song: Saturday, in the park… It felt just like the 4th of July. All that was missing were the Mexican vendors with their push-carts full of ice cream. It was T-shirt weather for that hour, even though the temperature read 49’. In the sun it felt like we were back in Cabo San Lucas. Funny, when we were down there I didn’t even go for a walk last time. It seems as though we appreciate things when they are scarce, as the sun was today.
There is much to the texture thing. Humans often don’t appreciate things without it. Three years ago who would have thought that we would be ecstatic that the market was back up over 12,000? When the Silicon Valley was in its “heyday”, a thousand dollar lunch bill just went into the Advertising and Entertainment budget. Now Mary and I get excited by a free vendor dinner at the Fairmont. There used to be secretaries and admins to do things like typing and filing. The internet was a tool and emails were a means of communication, not a burdensome task to filter through in the morning.
Belt tightening can be a good thing. People learn to do their own typing, publishing, and organizing. It is a better head space for most of us to be responsible for all of our own actions instead of blustering through the day only to dump the follow-up on someone else’s desk.
Cigarettes used to be 50 cents, gas 29 cents a gallon and what did we do as a country? More people died from tobacco than anything else, and the average car was a V-8 that got 8 miles to the gallon. There was no concern for health, carbon footprint, global warming, or anything other than how much steak and potatoes we could fit into our bloated bodies. Our businesses were every bit as bad.
The new era has brought about many changes: My car is a Prius that gets 50 miles to the gallon, my office is a converted bedroom in my house, that (the house) is a tremendously downsized version of the one where my kids were raised (but it’s paid for), my business is on the internet helping other folks sell what they do, and my sirloin habit has been cut down from three days a week to once a month.
I actually appreciate it all now. The walk in the sun, the occasional steak, that I can now type 50 words a minute, all came from necessity. The contrast in life is what makes us appreciate what we have.