Keeping it Simple

I’m having my house painted. The painters I chose are a man-woman team, Alan and Erin. In addition to working her butt off up on a ladder scraping off the old, cracked paint and getting some windows open that were painted shut when I bought the house, not to mention wielding a mean paintbrush, Erin handles the business end and writes up all the bids.

Alan showed me photos of his own house, which is even tinier than mine, surrounded by enchanting metal sculptures. The house is painted red, and there’s a little yellow studio in back made out of recycled materials from a place called the Rebuilding Center. The buildings, garden, and sculptures all draw you in, creating a peaceful, meditative mood.

He lives alone in his tiny house, doing his art and playing his flute and maintaining the community garden that he started. He lives simply, the way people did before television drowned us all in pop culture and computers insinuated their way into just about every aspect of our lives. Alan has neither TV nor computer.

I don’t know what I would do without my Mac and my beloved iPod. Still, all these corporate mergers and megacorporations give me the creeps. When my mortgage company sold out to Citibank and all of a sudden my credit card and my mortgage were the same humongous company, it gave me cold chills; never mind that the Citimortgage statement is easier to understand. Sometimes I wish I could just drop out and go back to the simple life, living a lonely fire lookout type of existence next to a river in Josephine County. Alan has managed to do it here in Portland. But though I don’t watch TV shows, I do like popping a rented movie into the DVD player whenever I like and I feel cut off from the world when my Internet connection is down. It’s time for me to boot up my creativity and discover new paths to simplicity.

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