Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Importance of Perspective, or: Who WOULDN'T Want a Personal Slave?

I'd like to say two things up front: first, that I definitely sympathize with those who suffer from ennui, from wanting more out of life, from a numbing dissatisfaction with the way things are going; second, that I don't know these women from Eve and their situations are probably more complicated than they've even openly and candidly admitted.

That said, Rant: On.

This past Sunday, I read Delia Lloyd complain that modern life is hard work. Fucking surprise! I read two of the pieces she linked by Sandra Tsing Loh, one transparently escapist fantasy which I can't tell if Loh actually pines after or not, and one rather longer slice-of-life lament which smacks of teenage angst in middle-aged terms. I'm sympathetic to Loh, I really am - but for shit's sake, this lady has some growing up to do.

The cockles of my heart are not nearly so opening to Lloyd (and that ain't much to begin with), probably for this bit alone:
...here's what we ate: cold pasta covered with leftover Tikka Masala sauce (tomato sauce inexplicably AWOL in kitchen cupboard), some soggy carrots cooked four hours earlier for kids' dinner, and the coup de grace: canned sardines. Yum.
This may not strike you, General Reader, as particularly infuriating, but what you have to consider is context, which at present means, "whatever the Hell I was thinking about five minutes earlier." In this situation, the context is that I had just woken up from dreaming about snowmobiling, which I have never done but long to do, and I marveled at the fact that our intellects have afforded us as a species the opportunity to transform what would normally be a difficult and harrowing experience (i.e. trekking across harsh, snowy landscapes) into leisure activity. Awesome! And while thinking of this, I assembled for myself a breakfast of leftover chili with fried eggs and Tabasco sauce mixed in, topped with cheddar cheese and green chiles for garnish. It was delicious, and it was reheated leftovers.

So I hope you understand what I mean when I say that I find Delia Lloyd's attitude comparable to a moist, aromatic pile of dogshit. It's unpleasant to step in, to look at, to smell, just to be around in general.

Seriously, this whining fuck-stain goes through a busy day doing things that most people regard as hallmarks of success, and complains at the end that she wants someone else to go through the boring parts so she doesn't have to. What is this happy horse-shit? She engages in a day's work of her chosen career path, has the resources to meet the wants and needs of her children, spends some quality time involving herself in her children's lives, then does a little more work before having a late dinner with her husband. Note that she does not reheat it at her option. And rather than just, oh, hire someone, she pines after someone to do the extra business of cooking, cleaning, and clothes-shopping for free? I am simply baffled by the... the... I dunno, the presumption of affluence, I guess? Maybe just the laziness.

To be fair, I'll bet she wasn't thinking about the day-to-day lives of our genetic ancestors as she went about her business. I'll bet she wasn't thinking as she prepared that day's meal, as I had been, of the marvels found in nearly every kitchen that allow us to prepare and store food from miles away, grown and prepared by someone we'll probably never meet, for consumption whenever we fucking feel like it. And I'll bet she also wasn't thinking about how children were our first retirement plans, about how the shotgun approach to child-rearing is regrettably still a necessity in certain parts of the world, or about how indulging the desires of said progeny is a luxury afforded to a precious and relatively modern few in the grander scope of our shared history.

In short, to understand Mrs. Lloyd's perspective, I have to concede an awful lot to general thoughtlessness. It's just a goddamned shame that she can't be more thoughtful in appreciating her life.

Then again, I guess I'm fucking lucky. I mean, my father taught me how to clean floors and sinks, but he also taught me the art of hinokishin. When I punched a hole through my bedroom door, he disciplined me by teaching me how to cut a door to size and hang it, making me fix the mess I had made. He taught me to thank lightning-struck trees for the wood they gave us for carving walking sticks, and to leave campsites better than I found them because it's the right thing to do and I'm not any more important than the next person to come along. And I guess Rant is Off now, because I find myself feeling sorry for these sorts of people who fantasize for something more without appreciating the full value of what's right the fuck in front of them.

2 comments:

Zach L said...

You know what?

Thank you. I really needed to hear this. It brightened my day up a lot and got me thinking about my own situation.

D said...

Hi, uhh... thank you! I'm really glad I could brighten up your day, hon!

Speaking of people I love who are far away, Jack's coming into town the eleventh to fourteenth (I think). If you can swing it, you should totally come on down!