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02/17/2005 Archived Entry: "The collapse of my little corner of Western Civilization"

YESTERDAY AFTERNOON MY WATCH BROKE and I felt as if Western Civilization were collapsing around my head. No, I haven't gone completely nuts. I'm not a drama queen. And I'm not PMSing. The watch's defection culminated a seven-day period in which my mechanic told me, "Time to get a new transmission or a new truck," my just-out-of-warranty TV/DVD player went fatally blitz, and the laptop computer on which all of life depends started heading south.

Et tu, wristwatch?

I briefly (very briefly) contemplated a peaceful and simple life without gas-tank fillups, truck registration, mysterious truck fixes, Netflix subscription, Internet, or the slightest need for keeping track of time other than observing the phases of the moon and the passing of the seasons. Ah, wilderness.

Yeah, I'd take up wood carving for a living. That's what I'd do. (Except, of course, how would I get the wood up my hill with no truck?) I'd ... Um.

I'd ask the Chivalrous Tech Geeks at TCF for

computer advice. I'd ask the mechanic how long I could get away with the tranny in the truck. (Pretty long time, yet, he says; long enough to save for a rebuilt.) And I'd use the DVD player for target practice if it costs more than 50 bucks to fix.

But I would, for a while, do without keeping track of minutes and hours. Who needs 'em, anyway? (And besides that, the stove, the microwave, and the alarm clock can do that so well I don't need to hang time on my wrist.)

Life goes on. The old Toyota has been a pure quality possession and I plan to make it last many more years yet. Household electronics, as the guy at the local appliance store grouses, have been "Walmartized" out of all their quality and there's not much to be done about that. They've also been "Walmartized" into grand affordability. Finally, I can excuse my sturdy IBM laptop for growing tired under all its demands.

And today I stopped at the local junk store (aka Surly Sam's Secondhand Emporium) and for a grand total of $40 (no tax if you pay cash) bought an office chair and someone's homemade solid pine computer desk.

The desk is a simple thing, though lovingly designed. A little sanding and it'll be good. But the chair (as I didn't discover until I got home and poked and prodded at its controls a bit) is a superb piece of workmanship from one of the finest office-chair makers in the country. Yes, this country. Not China or Korea or wherever. Fifteen years old and there's not a rip in the upholstry or a dent or a ding in the heavy steel base. The casters roll smooth as butter. The controls work flawlessly and are so varied the chair'll practically do everything but fill the office coffee pot. I scrubbed some spot remover here and there and I have an office chair better than any I've ever owned.

So there's hope for Western Civilization yet.

Posted by Claire @ 12:19 AM CST

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