This may not be culture threatening, but I couldn’t find my
notebook this morning. Despite increasing reliance on my computer, I am still
partial to the college-ruled notebooks that are available for about ten cents
apiece during August back-to-school sales. Having started a new one yesterday
it was particularly irksome that it wasn’t in its appropriate place.
After running through possible scenarios and settling on the
idea of an intruder breaking in during the night and spiriting away my
notebook, I retraced my steps and there it was, exactly where I had looked ten
minutes earlier. Obviously, a repentant thief was making amends.
Finding the book allowed me to continue my quest for a new
dishwasher. After years of dependable hard labor while our house was full of
growing children, the machine gave up under the gentle regime of empty nesters.
While I don’t mind doing dishes by hand, something is awry with the water
connection so that I need to bail out the useless dishwasher twice a day to
avoid kitchen flooding. Finding a replacement seems to be the simplest
I have read of immigrants from the old Soviet Union being
overwhelmed when facing American supermarket shelves. They are almost paralyzed
by the multiple choices and varieties of each type of item. That’s about where
I am in looking for a dishwasher. Not only are there numerous brands, each with
dozens of model numbers, but, unless you are talking way above my price range,
most reviews are negative. That isn’t surprising. If you are happy with your
dishwasher, you spend your time washing dishes. If you are unhappy, you seek
revenge, posting scathing reviews while on hold with appliance repair.
Hence, my need for the notebook, which already had a page
filled with model numbers crossed out. I certainly didn’t want to start from scratch
today. What I most likely will end up doing will be to chuck all the research,
go to a local appliance store and rely on the advice of a salesman (and yes, I
know that the salesman might be female and trust your intelligence to read the
“man” part in the broadest sense of the word).
However, all of this leaves little time for ruminating on
the state of the world or even for being appalled at the day’s headlines. It precludes
attending my local city council hearing or writing letters to my senators and
representatives. Having no dictatorial powers, I don’t think that I am
imitating Nero’s (mythical?) fiddling while Rome burned. Nevertheless, it
certainly is true that cherishing a marriage, nurturing a family, running a
business and taking care of the daily ins and outs of life, make finding a
missing notebook easier than putting in the effort required to be an informed
and involved citizen activist. One of
the threats facing our culture is that those citizens who are not doing much of
the above have more time at their disposal than those who do.