Lazy Luddite Log

29.1.15

Indoor Camping

The title of this post is deceptive. My living conditions in the last few weeks have been way better than it suggests. I was originally thinking of using the title "Squatting" but that is stretching the truth even more. The fact is I am legally living in my own home with the security of locks and keys. I have water pressure and power. I'm still sleeping in my own bed. But even small differences can have an impact on ones routine. You see my share household since 2010 is disbanding and as part of that process I have been living with fewer modern conveniences ('mod-cons').

My housemates Polly & Olav are moving closer to the city while I am moving a few kilometres from our current location. They have bit-by-bit been transferring some bigger mod-cons and I have willingly embraced the experience. Just what is it like to have access to fewer of these things? Here is my description of the key differences...

Pass Me Down That Can Of Beans

I have managed well in the kitchen even if I lacked refrigeration. For one thing we are having a mild Melbourne Summer thus far. For another there are a lot of things I enjoy that keep perfectly well in a pantry. Grocery shopping for me has included muesli bars, ultra-heat treated single-serve soy milks, Ryvita, Nutella, mixed juice, soda water, cans of corn, pinto beans, and "hearty" soups. I even made some toast in a frying pan.

There is a dish-washer but I rarely if ever use those. Somehow I prefer washing in the kitchen sink. I suspect this is because I prefer standing to bending or crouching. The one big drawback of lacking a fridge is that I cannot take advantage of the better prices that come from buying two iced coffees at once because I cannot store the extra one safely till the next day. Iced coffees are getting expensive but those two-bottle discounts bring the price back to something like it was a decade ago! I did try a tub of ice in the bathroom basin but it melted too quickly to seem worth it.

Scrubber Dub Dub

I have also managed without a washing machine. This is a bit more involved and I have employed two alternatives. One is to walk with my basket of dirty clothes to the closest laundromat. Those machines are pretty impressive in speed and performance. The danger however is that while there one will get eat-in dinner at a neighbouring restaurant and I did just that. I also had a novel to read. The other method is that - gasp - I hand-washed a few things in the laundry trough. It worked pretty well but it is also drudgery. Besides I lacked the thick old stick with which to churn the clothes and I felt as if somehow I was missing something historically important.

In My Day We Just Read A Book

The home Internet and phone service was switched off. Everyone uses mobile phones now so for calls I was fine. For accessing the World Wide Web it was another story. I can use my smartphone but I feel rushed by the notion of expending credit. Besides I detest using such a small interface. My solution has been daily visits to a local library for free Internet access using a full screen and QUERTY keyboard. I find that I can do what I need to in half an hour and a lot of what I want to with an additional hour.

I can also 'timeshift' the composing of particular messages or documents to home-time. How? Well because I still have a computer and there is lots one can do even without a net connection. I've been word processing text for transporting on a data stick. I've been updating digital photo albums (I was 12 months behind in that task). And I've been designing and re-designing my music playlists. I'm thankful for the hiatus in home net use as it was a chance to do these things.

There are other ways to keep busy too. I have finally finished a novel I was stalled on for months. I have done a bit more in the way of sketching. And of course I have been sorting and packing and tidying for my move. I only have the possessions of one share-householder living in one room so I am well on top of the task and have re-discovered many forgotten possessions. Also I have experienced just how the Internet has changed our needs and wants - I disposed of an old dictionary and thesaurus because I never use them now.

The time has flown pretty quickly except I must admit that half a week was taken with me visiting yet another intervarsity choral festival - this time Sydney 2015. And I have also had other things to do relating to friends or family or work. It has been only a few weeks of simpler living and I think I did well. It will however be nice to get back to my more usual routines in my new room.

In Your Room

I'm moving into a spare room in the home of friend Kellie. I have a general mental map of how I want to arrange my room but I suppose the final form will only take shape once my move is done and I'm unpacking bags and boxes. It will be an opportunity to play with a somewhat different combination of d├ęcor and displays. It will work well but I must admit I will miss my room of the past four and a half years.

It has had a lovely modern unified look and I've enjoyed spending time in it. I will particularly remember it for having friends over for life-drawing sessions or for indoor picnics with Belinda. However it was much more characterized by solitary past-times like watching old TV shows online.

This blog post has been sent from a public library but I expect the next will be done in my new room.

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