Friday, September 16, 2005

OH what a world...what a WORLD

I am a farmer. I farm. Or rather, I pick the fruits/vegetables of the farmer's labor...so I guess I'm more like a farm-vampire. Last Saturday, I went with my friend Lena to the Day Farms in Layton and we picked like 400 pounds of tomatoes and some eggplants and peppers. There is nothing more beautiful than washing your green stained hands and watching the dirt of real work circle down the drain of your inner-city sink.

Now some of you know that I hate the suburbs. You've heard my rendition of "welcome welcome suburban morning" and know that the versatility of the colors beige,eccru, eggshell and the like are a personal affront to my spirit. The truth is, that if I can't live IN the city, then I want to be as far out of it as I can. I think I'm a rare half-breed, part hipster, part hippy. Farms and ranches have always been intriguing to me...living on the land, sustainably, growing your own food, learning how to not kill all things green. Maybe a sheep or a goat or something that eats clothes on your clothesline. Simplicity. It seems like a quirky enough existence to keep you interested. And your kids would at least be unique...maybe a little weird but I can't decide if being a weird artist commune mom is worse or better than soccer mom. I don't know. All I know is that sometimes the idea of escaping the reality of societal living is so tempting.

After my faux farming day, we got in the car and listened to NPR all the way home...it was a current events quiz show called, "Wait, Wait...I know the answer" or something like that. Lena was rattling off answers and would certainly have won had she been on the show. I on the otherhand was abysmal. My complete lack of awareness of current events forced me to admit to Lena that I rarely pay attention to the news. I mean, I just don't read, listen to or watch it. I'm not ignorant and I'm certainly not stupid (uh, except when it comes to men, then I'm positively daft) but I think I'm too idealistic to handle the day to day traumas of politics, missing children and natural disasters. I'm consciously unconscious. What I mean to say is that I'd rather get to know the people that are living these news-worthy lives than read about it in the paper. I want to change the world one person at a time and if my optimism is to survive the barrage of horrifying images, then I will continue to stay away from the press.

This is exactly why I will never purposely live in the suburbs. The suburbs are the newspapers of america. THey are voyuers, the readers, the listeners. I want to be all or nothing. Far-away- from- it- all farmer or in-the-trenches city girl. But never anesthetized watching it all go down around me while I mow the front lawn. Maybe this is too much of a generalization and maybe I'm wrong to not read the paper. I certainly know more about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Scientological relationship than I know about Hurricane Katrina...so maybe I am a hypocrite. And maybe you think I'm completely wrong. And maybe I will be sorry someday...but for right now, I'll eat my tomatoes in my 4th floor apartment overlooking downtown Salt Lake and try to think of ways to change the world without having to turn on the Television.

5 comments:

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Kirsten J said...

I'm EXACTLY the same way.

I know how lame it is when people come and leach onto your philosophies and preferences and assume them as if they were their own. But I just agree with you so strongly on this one. Living downtown (just a few blocks from you, my friend) is a joy. The only way I would not live in the city again is if I could put a 5 acre minimum in between myself and any other soul, and live that way forever with my kids outside, building forts and learning to tie knots and rescue animals and the like.

A few summers ago, my adorable aunt and uncle left with almost all of their suburban neighborhood for Lake Powell. They returned a little over a week later to overgrown lawns...except a few freshly clipped areas in their grass.

Turns out, two families left behind got together and exchanged bitter sentiments about being the only families not invited on the stupid trip. So, they did what any upper-middle-class staunch LDS couples would do in feelings of rejection. They grabbed their weed-wackers and manicured some deep insults into the lawns of all the out-of-town families.

My uncle, the only guy on the block who had not been laid off from the ever-downsizing software company they all once worked at, got "I heart Bill Gates" weed-wacked into his lawn.

Another man who DID get laid off from the company, had "get a job" weed-wacked into his lawn.

After that, it was a cul-de-sac cold war. The elaborate neighbor gifts that once circulated conspicuously for every nuisance holiday got even more obnoxious, to prove who had become chummier with whom, who wanted a truce with whom, and so on. From that day on, I vowed to steer clear of suburbia if it killed me.

Maybe that's one horrible isolated experience but I have enough others to fuel my convictions for life. So I'm with you, honey. ;)

Lena said...

I feel like the special guest star in your blog today. You exposed my NPR nerdiness!

I am comfortable with that nerdiness because I really do like to know what's going on in the world. It makes me feel socially responsible, although I suspect that that is largely an illusion. After September 11, I spent hours watching the news and getting depressed, and I'm fairly sure that the world did not become any happier because of it.

Anyway, totally agree with the anti-suburbs comment. Live real life - be where things are actually happening, either in touch with the earth or in touch with what's moving "civilization" forward.

Sara McOllie said...

The show is called "Wait, wait, don't tell me" and I LOVE IT! I especially love it when Mo Rocca is on it. For me, I like the show because I don't really read the paper anymore (sad day when I decided to give up my NY Times subscription --mostly because on Monday's there was a column talking about little anecdotes around the city--kinda like the Reader's Digest little bits of humor.) or watch the news and yet I can usually answer the questions correctly. How this happens I don't know. Oh wait, yes I do. I watch the Daily Show with my hero Jon Stewart.

Suburbs are the vampires of the housing soul. That being said, I did spend about half of my youth in the outer limits of the suburbs but luckily they always were accompanied by greenspace in my backyard (given my family's strong ancestral penchant for all things golf, it usually was in the form of a golf course).

Juniper said...

Hey, as long as you avoid small towns, I say go for the middle of nowhere. Having grown up in a small town, I'll tell you this...I would rather have lived in the suburbs or anywhere closer to civilization than where I was. But I've grown up, and the suburbs drive me nuts. At least in my small town I knew people...it seems to me that the suburbs are places where nobody knows anybody, and when they do, the move on to a new subdevelopment. Maybe that's just a Utah thing.