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The Simple Life

Loaded truck moving Mariza to new apartment in May 2, 2009 

Mariza moved to a new apartment.  It was not far from her old place.  Espen and Mariza’s boyfriend – Chris – helped.  Alex had to work.  We had to make a few trips in the pickup truck.   I told her that she has too much stuff, but I don’t suppose that it true in comparison to most other people here age.

I retold the story that when I moved to Madison, I carried everything with me in a duffle and backpack.   It wasn’t really a completely valid comparison.  I didn’t have any furniture because I had apartments that had furnishings.  Mariza doesn’t have too much in the way of clothes or other things.   She is good about not having too much more than she needs.   The big thing is that she doesn’t yet have a car and uses the light rail system or walk.  

Mariza's street is below. It is a nice renewing neighborhood.  Not too far away, the nice houses like those you see in the picture are still boarded up.  The second picture is taken from Mariza's back window.  The neigborhood declines literally on the other side of the tracks.  Espen and I drove through some of these neighborhoods on the way home.  Espen told me about the Dave Chappelle routine on the subject.  Chappelle can be offensive, BTW, so viewer discretion is advised on the link.

Mariza's street on May 2, 2009 

 

View of Baltimore from Mariza's window on May 2, 2009 

Simple is better

A simple life is better. When people get too much stuff it begins to oppress them. It is sad to see so many of those storage places popping up. I understand that you might store your possessions that you use seasonally or episodically, but that is not what is usually going on. 

You just cannot own enough to make you happy.  Of course, it is possible to have so little that you live in misery.   This is not really a problem in the modern U.S. anymore for most people.   Most of us have the opposite problem, although sometimes we are so busy grabbing more that we miss what has happened. 

The really good gift a person can give himself or others is examined experiences  You are better off spending that money on something where you do or learn something new.   I think the examined part is also important.  Experience is a great teacher but only if you pay attention.   

I am not a proponent of recession, but it does have some useful effects.  People are becoming more frugal again.  The economic boom times really lasted from 1982 until the beginning of last year.   The two recessions were mild.  We all got used to having more and more.    Pew Research finds that people say they “need” fewer things than they did last year.  This is a good trend.   Of course 8% think a flat screen TV is a necessity and 23% say the same about cable TV and 31% evidently figure that a life w/o high speed internet is not complete.    I guess we didn’t know how poor we really were before these things were available.    

Below - sic transit gloria mundi.  The overgrown monument was set up by one of Baltimore's mayors, one John Lee Chapman. The original was set up in 1865.  It was renewed in 1915.  It probably was not on a freeway on-ramp at that time.  Now it is isolated by roads and a bit overgrown.   Notice in the background are trees-of-heaven.   Those are the invasive species I have to fight all the time on the farm. They are okay in the disturbed ground of the city.   The thing that makes them invasive is the same thing that makes them good city trees:  that they can grow fast in almost any conditions.

Mayor John Lee Chapman monument in Baltimore on May 2, 2009 

One more thing - this is the Mormon Temple.  I see it as I drive by on 495 on the way back from Mariza's house.   Usually I am going too fast to take a picture.  We hit a traffic jam today long enough to get a shot.  It is more impressive than my picture shows, but this is the best I could do w/o endangering myself or others. 

Mormon Temple on 495 on May 2, 2009 


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