Monday, August 10, 2009

Things We Can't Live Without

Here in the eastern U.S., it promises to be a hot muggy day. The kind of day that really makes you think--it's summertime. And, I confess, the kind of day that makes me grateful for centralized air-conditioning.

You guessed it...that got me to thinking about things we can't live without. Now. At one time, of course, we lived without these things. With the advent of centralized air conditioning in almost every new home, many features that were once characteristic of house construction are gone. Gone are the wonderful wide sweeping porches that wrapped around the entire house. Gone too are porch swings. Gone are the deep set windows on all sides of a house. When we bought the house we now live in--nearly 30 years ago--one of the features I really liked was windows on all sides. Many of the houses in this neighborhood have windows only on the front and back of a house.

Other things we can't live without? Well, here I sit at a keyboard. The thought of beginning my day without checking email makes me blanch. Yet, if you think back to when you first began using email, you are not thinking too far back in time. Along with computers, we have the whole explosion of electronic communication.

Can any of you live without your cell phones for an extended time?

Things that were once luxuries are now virtual necessities. I remember fondly the first radio I owned--a pink plastic radio that looked very much like this. I would scrunch up near the headboard of my bed, where the radio sat, and listen at night to rock 'n' roll. That radio could not be carried anywhere, nor played without access to electricity. And it was an absolute luxury to possess one. Today's red I-Pod is now a necessity.

Not all the things we can't live without depend on electricity. I recognize this next item dates me--so what? I can recall working in an office where I had a boss who was always sniffing out the newest do-dads. One day, he came in with this little stack of paper. He proceeded to peel off the sheets, and slap them on documents. With 3-M's sticky notes, office practice was forever changed. I can't imagine working in any setting without having Post-its or some such item.

To be sure, I am simply reflecting the fact that the passage of time always brings new ways of doing things.

You probably have things you can't live without. Care to name them?


Anvilcloud said...

I guess, I can't do without a car. I think I could in the right urban environment, but not here. There may be a lot of things that I'd prefer not to be without, but I think I could manage without many. I can live quite well without a cell phone. We have one we barely use. Cuppa uses it sporadically, but I can barely turn it on.

Dog_geek said...

Ha ha re: email. I remember when one of my good friends was first telling me about email and how I should get myself an account, and the whole thing seemed so stupid to me. I seriously thought to myself, "that will never catch on - I mean, *everyone* would have to have email for that to work!"

I have vague memories of the pre-internet days of doing scientific lit searches, but really, I think I have blocked most of that out. I am pretty sure that I could not live without PubMed!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I cannot think of things I cannot live without. I live a rather Spartan existence in which I have consciously tried to not accumulate too many things.

I would not want to have to try to live without my sight or hearing, or both (God forbid). As a keen observer of Nature, these two senses are a great source of pleasure for me.

I also would not want to live without intelligent radio. I am a keen listener to the CBC which is a constance source of intellectual stimulation for me. There are other such stations but not nearly enough. I would work at cracking our wind up radio to listen to a good discussion.

I still cannot think of "things" I would not live without. This does not mean I do not mourn the loss of things. I was robbed years ago by a friend who was living in my home. I never did recover my wedding ring (long after I was divorced) and my buck hunting knife (go figure).

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Music- in some form.
Car- we don't live close enough to anything.

KGMom said...

AC--I totally agree about a car, although were there no cars, things would be closer together, no?
Dog-geek--don't feel bad. Many big name folks said--computers? Who will need a personal computer?
Philip--and yet you depend on the Internet for entertainment, contact, email, blogging...
Oh Lynne--no one would ever ask you to give up coffee. That's like saying--give up air.

Peruby said...

Running water!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...


I have only had a computer for a few years. I remember what life was like without it. In fact I remember what life was like before TV! I could return to not having a computer and doing without the enjoyment it gives me. I could go back to spending hours reading for information, hand writing letters, sending away for information. I might even be tempted to use the telephone (I doubt it). I might even get so tired of being alone with myself I would seek out some female company! Now there's a thought.

Liza Lee Miller said...

Computer and Internet access! :) When I have worries about an apocalypse, I'm not worried about growing and raising food for my family, staying clothed and warm and dry but about doing it all without the help of the Internet!!! :)

JeanMac said...

Indoor plumbing!

Jayne said...

I remember when we first got a computer... I think it was a 286/33 with dial up connection? Whoo weee, we were FAST. We subscribed to Compuserve and it almost felt like we were inviting the entire world into our house. I was a bit intimidated at first. I remember being in AWE at Compton's Encyclopedia on a CD.

Now I would gladly surrender every TV in the house to keep my computer, which has become a wee bit faster. :c)

Ruth said...

When we go north for holidays, I realize how little we really need. I could give up many modern gadgets, but I do get withdrawal pangs without my camera and computer. The computer has become my connection with family who live far away.

NCmountainwoman said...

I would be so lost without my iPod. In fact, my (first generation 20GB no color LCD) is not holding a charge so I bit the bullet and bought a new one just yesterday. I brought my old iPod with me just in case there was a possibility of a new battery. (Nope, not a chance.) The young salesman had NEVER SEEN ONE! They were quite excited to see my "antique."

Mary C said...

I'm positive I could live without my cell phone! But I am so addicted to my computer and internet access. I don't get enough of it at work and I practically live at the computer, connected to the world both at work and at home. I could definitely get along without television; I never seem to watch it except during ice hockey season, and that would be just the San Jose Sharks. I don't care to watch other teams very often.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Donna,
I don't think my list would be as long as it was maybe 10 years ago.....but I would definitely have a hard time giving up the central A/C at home.

We have a large Amish community here in SE Minnesota and I think of them often and what they live without--especially those ladies keeping the house running and wonder how they get anything done without a microwave!!