Dear Carl Hiaasen, My Deepest Apologies

I am in Florida.  The land of milk and honey, and Mickey and Minnie, and mass habitat destruction.

I find myself absolutely torn between enjoying the ridiculous idea of timeshares and feeling disgusted by my own participation in the ruination of an otherwise beautiful, rich land.  I like camping and getting dirty and not worrying about shoes and laundry detergent.  I don’t care about wearing deodorant and fixing my hair.

No, I’m not some hippie freak.  Well, okay, maybe I am.  But mostly I just acknowledge that we’re all animals,  no matter how much we try to distance ourselves from it.  And this whole setup here?  Distance to the nth power.

But the obsessive, crazy part of me really likes the tidiness of it.  The chlorinated pools, and the bleached towels washed in 200 degree water.  I like air conditioning and microwave ovens.

But also, I could live without them.  I think my boys would be okay (not the husband boy – he would definitely not be okay without the creature comforts), but the teenager would run away and never visit.  I think, after having limited access to the computer for the last few days, the one thing I would be heartbroken to give up would be the internet.  And I adore gadgets, so that would be tough, too.  I mean, I just got my Kindle and you want me to give it up already?

So how to balance this love of luxury with love of nature and wanting to preserve it?

I don’t even know.  Part of me would like to see the whole thing go down in a burning wreck of humanity.  We’ve ruined everything with our love of cheapness and quantity and convenience.  And I’m pretty sure we will never get back to a sustainable culture unless a huge portion of us die, and those that are left have apprenticed under Joel Salatin, or at least know how to grow our own food without chemicals.

I don’t know how to reconcile my love of technology and the immediacy of modern life with my desire to keep things simple.  I feel I’m straddling the fence in so many ways.  Can I split my life in half and live part of it in NYC and part of it in the wilds of southwest Virginia?  If only.

The best I can do, for now anyway, is keep growing lettuce in my sun room and making art and clothing from trash.  And I’m keeping my Kindle, because books don’t grow on trees, you know.


4 Responses to “Dear Carl Hiaasen, My Deepest Apologies”

  1. Great post. Yes, no easy answers. I wonder if the crazy part of you will tire of chlorinated pools and bleached towels… I have no idea, but I wonder. For what it’s worth, (and I know it ain’t much) I suspect you’ll find the right balance between technology and simplicity. Hey, you’re a knitter! All the knitters I know are great problem solvers. (Okay, I only know 4, but…)

    • I think the chlorine and towel issue will disappear once I’ve mastered mindfulness. It’s an OCD thing, you might not understand. But basically, yes, the crazy must go, and with it my attachment to disinfection. I can eat food off the forest floor, but cannot touch anything in a public restroom. To me it’s a sensible distinction, but what do I know?

  2. Quite a bit in my humble opinion. Not touching anything in public restrooms is the wisest of calls. I read an article about three years ago that scared the living c*%p out of me. (Heh! Sorry…) The final advice on public restrooms: If you have to use them — it’s way more sanitary to not wash your hands after.


  3. You are absolutely correct and we all face this conundrum. I face it on a daily basis partly because I am a wildlife biologist (its my job to think about this stuff), but mostly because I am a human who cares that we don’t throw it all away. The fact that this matters to you says everything…you’re good to go. Nice job.

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