I have been dedicating myself to trying to live with less luxury than the average American is accustomed to. For one, I don’t have a microwave. Something that I have had at my disposal my whole life. I don’t have a dishwasher, another appliance I have been used to having. I don’t have a washer or a dryer. I do have access to one, but thankfully need to walk down three flights of stairs to share a washer and dryer with my thirty or so neighbors.
I lack a couch and instead, have a blanket and pillows. In lieu of a dining table, I have a coffee table where we sit on the floor. I’ve abandoned cable and the traditional rabbit ears. Instead of the luxurious $600 mattress and $200 boxspring I used to sleep upon, I have a rolled out mat and one pillow. I still own a car, but drive it once every 6-10 days, preferring to walk, ride a bike, or take the bus.
I have even taken to hauling my drinking water in a three gallon plastic container. Yes, that’s true, instead of the convenient water pitchers and replaceable filters, I have switched to purchasing my drinking and cooking water in bulk and filling up a reusable container at a location about 6 blocks away and then hauling it home. I do drive when I need water, but last time I had to park two blocks away and walked the distance with this heavy burden. Eventually, I hope to be able to haul the glorious H2O the whole distance on foot.
To most of my fellow Americans I seem like a ridiculous fool. My own family criticizes my choice to live in a location without such common amenities. Why after all would I walk when I could drive? They don’t seem to understand the argument for wanting to live more like a world citizen or wanting to experience a little bit more what it might be like to live without all the comforts we take for granted. No, they don’t even understand the more self-centered, its healthier for me to walk/climb steps argument. They think its silly to ‘force” my daughter to suffer my ideologically sacrifices. They claim I’m not making a difference, I’m just one person, I’m only hurting myself. And yet, somehow, the whole process makes me feel better.
I delight in walking down the basement to wash clothes. I find meditative pleasure in scrubbing dishes, pots and pans included, by hand. I don’t mind scrubbing the tub harder to use my limestone instead of some chemically based disinfectant. I love sleeping on the floor, I don’t miss a couch or a microwave, I actually enjoy all the free space not having those things means.
I don’t fit in with the culture I was born in.