Friday, January 29, 2010

You Like Me, You Really Like Me...

...And now here’s the end of my academy award speech, where I thank everybody that ever helped me, like Mrs. Meier, my first grade teacher, Mr. Hebel, my high school social studies teacher, and, oh, Jerry Maguire.
While I have been inspired by other people’s accounts of their experiments in simple living, sometimes some of them make me feel a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes there is a bit of, “if I can do this, anyone can do it.” Even worse is when it feels like, “if I can’t do it then nobody can do it.” And the very worst is, “If I can do it, you SHOULD do it!” I wish for this experiment to not be all that political. I am not doing this experiment to change any policy or prove any particular point. It’s not about nutrition, food policy, self-deprivation, or the world’s current economic challenges. It’s not about Weston Price, Dorothy Day or Barbara Ehrenreich. It’s more about adaptability, creativity and friendship (OK, and a bit of competition).
I struggled a bit with my rules, and how I would start this experiment. Should I start from scratch, with nothing in the house to eat? Or, should I eat what’s here, with the risk of my expenses being so low because I am just spending down the pantry?
No matter what I would try, there would be no way for me to start from scratch. My garden has been going along for awhile, the soil is in shape, the plants are in, and I know how to grow them. I learned much about gardening from Mom and Dad and how far back does that assistance go? My grandfather’s rose garden, my other grandfather’s farm, my great aunt’s cabbage grater? Many in my community, from undocumented Mexican gardeners who help me load grass clippings into my car every Tuesday morning, to my friends with horse and chicken manure, to the seemingly careless drivers who leave planting containers and shovels in the roadways, have contributed to my compost pile. There is no way to go back to scratch. I am not even going to try that much.
I’ll admit, not everybody can do this. Some can do better for sure. Nobody else has my DNA, my climate, my upbringing, my schooling, my relatively affluent neighborhood. Nobody has the same initial or current conditions, so everyone’s experiment, if they choose to do one, will have a different outcome.
I hope I have a good outcome. So, thank you all. I've misplaced that crumpled envelope I stashed in my pocket and they're starting to play music. You know who you are!

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