Thursday, August 26, 2010

Selfish Elegance

Photo courtesy Flickr: square-ended narrow border spade from S & H first wave

Gardener/economist Paul Hawken wrote in the late Seventies’ Next Economy that the value of a dollar is determined by the price of a barrel of oil, and that manufactured goods worth buying contain a great deal of intelligence. Thirty years on, oil is higher and goods are smarter than ever.

For my purposes, good speakers and a fast internet connection are worth a dumpster full of cheap clothing, third-rate housewares, and bloated furniture. High-tech knits, classic eighteenth and twentieth century interior amenities, and state of the art hiking gear cover most domestic eventualities, especially when supplemented by French cotton damask tablecloths and a handful of tools.

The more my life resembles dorm existence, the happier, healthier, and more productive I can be. The scene doesn’t have to look like a dorm- it’s possible to sneak away from obsolete domestic responsibilities under a conventional roof. The trick is to contract good, better, and best into one layer of very good and then use it to the hilt. Old, new, and waiting in reserve trump cheap, mediocre, and too good to use.


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