A couple of years ago our daughter thought we should buy a gas heated clothes dryer. Having moved into partment life during graduate school she thought having to carry the laundry out to the line was just too much work for her mother since she was getting old, or at least older. I reminded her we were only in our fifties and really not doing too bad yet, and besides, I carry the laundry baskets out to the line and back in when everything is dry. It is not her mother that does the lugging.
We have never had a clothes dryer or any kind except the kind that hangs from posts or trees. I will continue to carry the laundry out as long as I can. My mother did the same and her mother also did the same. Why should we use gas or electric to dry our clothes? have you ever used a towel that has dried outside in the sun and wind? The smell is exhilerating.
There is no excuse for not drying clothes outside. Well, actually, there probably are excuses, but not real reasons. Granted if you live in the city in an apartment there probably is no choice but to dry in a clothes dryer. Or, you may be unfortunate enough to live in a community or development that prohibits the hanging of clothes on a clothesline in your yard. These prohibitions have been challenged and overturned.
Prohibitions like the above are an indication of a larger problem that is two fold. On the one hand, people believe energy is cheap and we can use all we want. This is an attitude that may be quickly changing. On the other hand, people are either so self absorbed or simply too lazy to take the time to hang
their clothes outside. They might even be embarrassed to do so.
There are all sorts of devices in our lives that operate on the principle of cheap energy. One of the most glaring are cars, which is a whole other discussion. How about the TV sets that although there is no picture on the screen the thing is actually on and waiting. These devices are made this way so that when you hit the on button you do not have to wait for it to warm up. You have a picture almost immediately. So you can avoid the inconvenience of having to wait maybe 30 seconds for a picture.
Waste is endemic in our society. I take my own cloth bags to the store to buy food. Why should I take plastic or paper bags home every time I buy groceries? Is it too much to ask people to do? Australia is banning plastic bags in stores next year. Why not charge for the bags also. I have seen people with 20 or more plastic bags of stuff heading out the door. Maybe there are 2 or 3 items in each bag. I went in the local grocery store the other day to buy a box of bandaids. Checkout and they put the bandaids in a plastic bag for me to carry home. I took them out and told them I did not need a bag. So they threw the plastic bag in the trash can. I couldn't believe it.
There is another store I frequent that packs your bags for you as they check things out. I put all my stuff on the counter to be checked out and handed them my cloth bags and they didn't know what to do with them. Then they tried to put the stuff in plastic bags and then put the plastic bags in the cloth bags. How stupid can you be? The store people seemed to act like it was a major pain to have to change their routine.
And really, here is where we come to the self absorbed part. Americans, for whom I can speak because I am one, just seem to think thinking about what they are doing is an insult. Not all of us are like that but too many of us are. There are all kinds of slogans and little messages built into our culture telling us we don't need to think about or be concerned about what goes on in the world because we are too important and we deserve to have this or that and should not be bothered with something that really does not affect us. If we only knew.
Michael Dappert is a co-founder of Winco, Inc., a provider of wireless internet access to small communities in West Central Illinois. More articles and discussion can be found at Mike's Garden Blog and discusses a wide range of topics at Flyoverfolks.com.