Thursday, January 2, 2014

Two Times. Two Places. Two Worlds.

Going through my normal morning routine I have come to realize how much my vacation was a change of time as well as a change of place -- that Jan and I live a life that is in some ways closer to the 19th century than the 21st.

When we were away we enjoyed much of the best of the 21st. (And yes, we did enjoy it!) A world where (when?) what was once called "creature comforts" -- from such things as the keeping of perfect room temperature and humidity to inter-room communication -- are all controlled with one's finger tips or (as often) totally automated. A world were even the fireplaces are turned on by remote control producing, within seconds, the warmth of blazing logs sitting on a bed of glowing embers.

A world where automobiles run silently, without gasoline, and respond to voice commands.

A world where world-class world cuisine is minutes away. Shall we dine tonight in Mexico? France? India? Laos? - and then with a few touches of the smart phone reservations have been made. ("Want to see the menu and decide before we leave the house?")

On and on I could go, waxing lyrical, about this new, strange but wonderful world.

And then a jet plane whisked us back to... the 19th century. A place where getting the fire going requires not a touch on a remote, but the lugging in of wood and the careful nurturing of a little flame into the desired blaze.

A time and place where fresh espresso requires first the grinding of beans, then careful hand tamping so as to pull the perfect cup.

Where inter-room connectivity means walking to the foot of the stairs and calling out "Jan, are you up there?"

Where rooms are cool (some would, and have, said "cold") unless one chooses to warm them. Indeed where "creature comfort" comes from a sweater or a down-filled comforter.

Is one place or time "better?" No, I think not. Although one could certainly be more desirable to this person or that. And certainly the 21st century always-on-the-go life style is better achieved by staying in that century full time.

Me? I appreciate them both. But my life style matches my loves in the arts. Flemish and Dutch paintings. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

Fires that crackle seem to go with this. As does freshly-ground coffee, layered garments, labors that accompany even basic creature comforts.

And I'll argue this strongly as I enter this on my hand-held computing marvel, as the still perfectly fresh cooking from two weeks ago thaws then heats to a perfect temperature in the microwave and the electric-start snowblower awaits activity when the falling snow ceases to fall.

Fun stuff, this living in two worlds and two times.

Yes, life is good.

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