I want everything to last forever.
When I buy a television, I don’t expect to ever buy another one. I will keep using the old one until it simply won’t work anymore … or someone gently tells me that I really need a new one.
“Oh,” I say, “But I just bought this one.”
“You bought it 14 years ago. I can’t even connect most things to it. It doesn’t have the right connections.”
“Is it really that long ago? It seems like yesterday.”
It does seem like yesterday because I can remember buying it. I remember deciding which TV would give us the best pictures, be reliable. Which is how come it lasted 14 years. Actually, it still works. It’s just too old to be of much value — and too huge to get rid of, so I guess it will live in the basement forever.
The only things I buy more or less on schedule are computers because operating systems change and software won’t run on old systems. I don’t want to get new computers. In fact, I hate new computers. Setting them up is a total pain in the butt. But I cope — because I know I need them.
On the other hand, things like refrigerators, washing machines, ovens? The roof, the water heater, the floor, the sinks and toilets — aren’t they forever? Don’t you buy them once and then you never have to worry about them again?
I’m on my third water heater and beginning to worry about the roof. I’m discovering that the vinyl siding wasn’t as permanent an investment as I thought it was … and the ants keep coming back.
Just to remind me how impermanent the world truly is, the rights we fought so hard to create, the young are fighting for them. Again.
How can that be? How can we have made so much progress and find ourselves back — not only where we were, but back to where my parents were. I feel like we haven’t regressed to the 1950s, but more like the 1930s.
The changes we make, the changes we paid for, fought for, battled for … they are supposed to be forever or at least for our lifetime. The roof should never need to be replaced. The heating system should be a lifetime investment.
Freedom should be given — and once achieved, you should always be free. We should never need to battle again for the right to live our lives as we please. Personally, I don’t think we should have to fight for it in the first place. We should be born free and take on obligation only by choice.
Freedom has come and gone many times throughout human history. Rome was free until it wasn’t. Greece was free … until it wasn’t. Many countries were briefly free, until swallowed up or conquered by others. I guess it’s our turn, my turn, to realize that the freedom I thought we’d won was merely a respite from the despotism of the world.
I think it’s because we let them. We say “Oh, a few huge corporations won’t really matter” and then we look around and the entire world is made up of huge corporations and we don’t matter. We give up our freedom incrementally.
We surrender it for higher wages, cheaper toys, nicer cars. We give it up because it sounded like fun and we don’t see the down side. We elect the wrong people because they sound good. We fail to examine if they are really who they say or are capable of being who we need.
We do it. Ourselves. We give up our freedom in tiny pieces until we have nothing left to lose.
Freedom is a costly gift which does not come to us without commitment and a battle. I didn’t imagine I would live long enough to need to fight for it twice. Is that some kind of bizarre payback for living a longer life?