Monday, August 28, 2006

Cave Woman

So. Blogging. I swore I’d never do it, and here I am. Janey Come Lately. It's not terribly unusual, I'm afraid, for me to swear to do something and then change my mind. Here’s a short list of things I’ve sworn never to do and then caved:

Use E-mail
This was in 1994, and I passionately believed that e-mail was a dehumanizing and artificial form of communication that would lead us further down the road of inorganic commercialization. (Yes, I was a horrible brat in those days, and I said things like that.) I still sort-of believe this, but I caved long ago when a professor threatened fail anyone who refused to learn this new technology. I am now paid for my e-mail skills.

Buy a Computer
This was while I was still in college, and I had read Wendell Berry’s essay about how he’d never use a computer. When I started graduate school and bought one, I consoled myself by saying that Wendell Berry also had his wife type up all of his manuscripts, and that seemed sexist to me.

Get a Cell Phone
I hated and still hate how annoying and pretentious people can be with their cell phones, especially devotees of Bluetooth headsets (do you ever wonder if people affix those things to their ear just so they can talk to themselves without looking crazy?). Thing is, about three years ago, I moved three times in six months, and people couldn’t keep track of my phone numbers. It was hard enough to move someplace new. I didn’t need to lose all of my friends in the process. Hence, I caved and got a cell phone. I’ve even knit a couple of cozies for my latest one (see “be crafty” below). I don’t, however, have a Bluetooth headset. Those things just look stupid.

Troll the Internet for Dates
Shock. I believed in love at first sight and thought that internet dating was the absolute death of romance. That is, I thought that until I realized that I hadn’t had a date in an embarrassingly long length of time and had no prospects of getting one. I had plenty of married men my father’s age hitting on me, and my twenty-one-year-old neighbor who was little-brother cute but dumb as a stick fancied me too. Sadly I wasn’t into dating married father figures or dumb boys, so the dry spell was fixing to get a whole lot drier. A good friend painstakingly convinced me to jettison my belief that I would bump into the love of my life ala Before Sunrise, and I finally caved. I now have a fantastic boyfriend thanks to the information superhighway.

Buy Anything Made in China
I took up this one after working in a retail store that stocked a bunch of useless crap made in China. I didn’t cave easily on this one, but since I was naked and didn’t have much by way of necessary stuff, I started buying stuff made in China. There was a sigh heard ‘round the world from friends and family on this one. Unfortunately, I even like some of the shiny plastic crap I’ve bought made by the children and political prisoners of China.

Be Crafty
Lest you think that only technology and consumer goods were my sworn enemies, I also hated crafts. With a passion. I thought that it was because I was a feminist, but really, it was because I lacked the patience as a child to master them. Crafts, however, are in my blood. My people were born to them, and it was only a matter of time before I caved. It started with a pottery class that was better than therapy because I got dishes. Soon after came batik. You get to make a horrible mess with batik. Messes are fun. I then realized that I really liked knitted things, so I asked my mom (quite the knitter) to help me learn. Now I make my own hats, mittens, scarves, cell-phone cozies, and sundry gifts for friends and family. A few years ago, I realized I wasn’t the only feminist doing crafts. I’m currently working on a bag from the Stitch n’ Bitch book. The other day, I showed a co-worker how to purl. I felt triumphant.

My cell phone's cozies

Learn How to Cook
Why learn how to cook? Feminists don’t spend their lives cooking for some man. But then I lived away from home, and wanted things like, say, fried eggs for breakfast. At age twenty-four, I had no idea how to do this, and my roommate had to show me. A few years later, I got a part-time job at a Le Creuset outlet to supplement my nonprofit income. I managed to score a nearly priceless set of amazing cookware with the best discount ever (sadly, I hear that the program is discontinued, so don’t go trying to get a job there). Surrounded by a ton (literally, if you’ve ever seen the stuff, you’ll know what I mean) of cookware, I decided that I needed to learn how to cook. I’ve since wowed family and friends with some of my dishes (my notoriously picky boyfriend cleaned his plate this weekend---I know, I cooked for some man), and I even won the “Critics' Choix” award at a Soup Off. I’m ridiculously proud of this accomplishment. I won a bag, and I tote it all over the place.

My "Critics' Choix" bag (the apostrophe fell off somewhere in my travels) and a very large and very heavy Le Creuset Soup Pot

So now you know my word is crap, and that I often give in to the dark side, sometimes gleefully. You also may have gathered that I’m a bit of idealist, but I also have a strong practical streak, allowing me to rationalize my way out many a situation. Sometimes this streak bugs the everloving shit out of me, but most of the time I like the fact that I respond to reason.

This gets me to why I’m starting to blog now, years after it was the hip thing to do. I’ve never been a big reader of blogs. I read “Chocolate and Zucchini” for the recipes. And I like Nerve’s Blog-a-Log, especially “girlgonemad” and “the_sentimental” (I know, Oliver’s very self-absorbed---he’s also very charming). I’ve read a couple of political blogs of the left-leaning variety, but I’ll admit that I tend to look at Common Dreams or the Nation’s web site for the news of the day.

What brings me to blogging is that, like many other bloggers out here in cyberspace, I want to write something of note someday, and this seems like a good way to practice. The other reason is that I put together a little e-mail every day for coworkers, friends, and family. They seem to like it, so I figured I’d expand the circle. Practical reason wins the day. I’ve caved. So, welcome to my blog, Sassy Sundry Thoughts. Hope you like it.

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