Thursday, February 17, 2011

Not a very good luddite

I got up this morning to find that our cable is down - which means no internet, no phone and no tv. The tv is not a big deal in the morning because having the tv on first thing in the morning really grates on me. But no internet is annoying for me because my morning ritual is to drink my coffee and read my google reader feed and my email. I tried to call the cable company but my cell phone doesn't work very well in our new house and I had a moment of thinking, "I can not in good conscience get too upset about this! Really - not a big deal to have all your little tech toys down!" Of course, then I remembered our neighbors unsecured wifi ...

Despite my homesickness day before yesterday, I had a much better day yesterday. I went to work in the morning and that always cheers me up, and in the afternoon I seemed to get a lot of "kid validation". My neighbors preschool daughter wanted me to pick her up and gave me a huge hug and then my other neighbors two kids who I was babysitting right after school got off the bus and both gave me big hugs. Those three things really made my day a little better. And I got an email back from my daughter's teacher and I'm on the schedule one morning a week to volunteer in class which will help me feel more connected with the school and like I know what is going on better.

Meanwhile, I've been picking up a strange dynamic from some people who live in the city. The minute I start to talk about how much I love it out here, instead of saying they're happy I found the right place for myself they immediately start telling me why the city is better and why I'm mistaken and will come to my senses one day. It's very odd. My gut feeling is that these are people who need to convince *themselves* that they are where they want to be and my wanting something different threatens them because they either don't really know what they want or they don't have the confidence to be secure in knowing what they want for themselves is valid even if it's different form other people. Maybe it's that Western culture mentality that if people aren't jealous of what you have then it's not good enough?

My closest (sanest?) friends say "I'm so happy for you. It's not for me, but I'm glad you found a great place for you." That is probably because I've gotten so old and cranky that I just don't have time for people who need to invalidate me in order to feel good about themselves and I just don't bother letting them very close to me. It makes me happy when people like our old neighbors can come out here and say, "This is lovely. I'm glad you found the perfect place for you. That's how we feel about where we live." Even though where they live is where we left. That shows me they have the strong enough sense of self to know just because it's not right for me doesn't mean it's not right or them and they don't have to freak out and make it an "I'm right - she's wrong" issue. Plus, it makes me happy to know my other friends are living where they feel most at home. It's really a whole different feeling about daily life to be living where one feels "they belong" as opposed to just where one is - especially when where one is doesn't feel like home.

Then of course, there are my old friends, many of whom moved to the suburbs years before I did - of course they see nothing wrong with not living in the city. It is weird how there is some unwritten "code of cool" about living in a city compared to the suburbs/country. Still trying to figure out what that's about. Your address or zip code doesn't define who you are - but then once again, that is the way of consumerist Western culture. Your car, address, clothes all define you - not who you really are.

This thinking about herd mentality and consumerist-mindsets and all that is just exacerbated by my starting to read The Panic Virus. I am fascinated by this issue because all of my life I have been drawn to anti-establishment/alternative ideas and many of my old friends are anti-Western medicine. I seem to be one of the few who tends to lean more toward established scientific evidence in medicine with a touch of naturopath on the side (there are some really great scientifically proven naturopathic remedies but that field does seem to have been inundated by quacks in the last ten years). I wonder if I had had kids back in the early 90's when I was in my early 20's if I would've not gotten them vaccinated and eschewed modern medicine - thus putting their health at risk? But even at my most "woo-woo" (once I stopped smoking pot and taking drugs) I was open to alternative ideas but I wanted some research and science behind it to make sure it was safe. So it's hard to say. Regardless, it's the well-educated people in their 30's and 40's now who write off science in medicine the same way Creationists write off science in the history of our planet, Earth that amazes me. I'm not sure this book will answer the sociological question for me of why otherwise sane, educated peers eschew science for conspiracy theories or if it will just maek me more confused by the human race. We will see.

1 comment:

  1. Such interesting observations about human nature. I'm often struck by some of the exact things you mention. As a nurse who has many friends in the anti-vaccine and only natural medicine camps, I'm astonished at how otherwise educated people can so completely ignore the research that has disproven their claims over and over again. (Having said that, I also get really annoyed at the med-types who insist on doing something the way it's always been done and ignore the emerging science that shows a better way.)

    In the past few days I've also run across some of the anti-rurual sentiment you talk about. For right now, the city is exactly where we want to be. But we have plans to move very rural in a few years. Rural as in "no stop light for 65 miles." When I talk to good friends about this I am given much support and promises to visit. I recently mentioned it to a few people while talking about looking to the future and where MonkeyDoodle will go to high school (4 years away!) and I've said that we may have moved rural by then. The judgment was palpable. You would have thought I said we had plans to move to Albania.

    I'm glad you're happy in your new home :) The people who can't be happy for you probably just aren't able to be happy for anything!