Melina's Journal: Yes, but what can you DO?
In a recent post, I mocked an online-date for being useless - unable to screw in a lightbulb without calling a superintendent. Ma and I have been discussing this concept for some time now. I think it relates to our earlier discussions on the New Etiquette.
(Speaking of the new etiquette, which I have argued is the same as the old etiquette, one of my friends recently took the concept even further toward full-circle by hosting a 12-hour birthday party: she put on a lovely dress and sat in her living room with a pack of beer and some appetizers, and friends dropped by all afternoon to see her at their own convenience - what is this if not announcing her "visiting hours," Victorian style, by eVite?)
At any rate, in my over-developed city, people tend to evaluate themselves by what they consume rather than what they produce.
A gentleman weaver bird builds a nest to impress a lady weaver bird. A New York gentleman cannot do this as it is against zoning laws, and besides, everything already exists here that she might possibly desire. He doesn't need to weave it painstakingly out of straw. So how does the New York gentleman distinguish himself from the masses? By being an extremely discriminating consumer. He finds the best restaurants, the best music, the most fabulous and obscure hideaways. He looks down on the common entertainments, unless they are so delightfully declasse as to be cool again.
I'm not blaming the gentlemen - the ladies are just as bad. Let she who has been working on the masonry cast the first stone. Ma, who has strong Pennsylvania Dutch genes, already thinks I'm pretty worthless. (I once told her that the potato-hoeing gene was recessive and I didn't get it.) I sure didn't do any construction during my summers at home - I sat on the porch, drank orange juice, and read novels (while ogling the occasional construction worker).
I'm just saying in New York it's particularly bad - and that the people I most admire are those who leave the world different than they found it - who walk into a room, or a construction site, and create something that wasn't there before. I would also argue that these are the people who are most fulfilled in their lives.
Ma designed and built her own home, landscaped her own yard, arranged her own music, mixed her own CD, etc etc.
I tried to replace my own iPod battery and permanently destroyed my iPod in the process. But at least I tried, right?
So, what can you actually do?