Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thinking Outside the Box

The most interesting conversation I have had in at least a week was with the electrician who came to my house yesterday morning to fix some broken switches. A young man in his early 30s who lives way out in the hinterlands of Maine, Derrick was poised and articulate and brimming with ideas of how to live better in a world gone mad. He and his wife are home-schooling their three kids, and one thing they have taught them, besides all about history and math and geography and politics, is how to write in cursive, something that is no longer taught in public schools and will soon be obsolete.

Besides his proficiency in all things electric, having completed as many years of education to become certified as a journeyman electrician as a brain surgeon does, Derrick had a lot to say about the present state of the world and why he has chosen to live out in the woods, raising pigs and chickens and milk cows and farming much of the food his family consumes. I was envious of his children, thinking back to how little I learned during my normal suburban childhood, both from my parents and my teachers, that has been useful in any way. We talked long past his repair of my switches and finally broke off when his beeper alerted him to his next appointment. I paid him $100 for the work but secretly thought the conversation was worth much more.

That evening I attended a small dinner in my neighborhood attended by six women including me. All of us were college graduates. The food prepared by our gracious hostess was delicious but the conversation was almost non-existent. There was chit-chat about people known in common, various recipes for cake, the merits of taking Vitamin D versus calcium, and news of an upcoming holiday bazaar. Nobody mentioned politics or anything happening outside of our little town. A newcomer to the group, I was never asked one question by anyone there. When I could politely excuse myself, I went home and played with my cat, then went to bed.

1 comment:

  1. I did not know about cursive. Why is it not being taught. Don't they want people to write anymore? How do you sign your name ? Help! I live in a black hole in the desert with way more scorpions and cactus than is needed.