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©May 2002

Carol Jane Remsburg



The Way Of The Dinosaur







I had no idea until today just how antiquated I'd become.  Truly up until today I thought that I was doing well in the digital world.  Granted I may not be on the cutting edge with a wireless high-speed access for a laptop via my cell phone simply because I don't require it.  I don't have DSL because my phone co. hasn't gotten it out to this small rural town YET, but we are a two computer home and we know how to use them—mostly.  However it's NOT the computer stuff that's getting to me.  It's the realization that certain aspects of my life are changing and one may be permanent. 


There are two vastly different examples that I give you.  The first is easy and one I'll probably manage to maintain until I can't get about much or if the community I live in places a ban on it.  What is it?  The etiquette of hanging out the laundry.  It's a simple thing really, but most don't bother with it any longer and heaven forbid that it take any extra time.


Now the Green Peace folks and energy conservationists ought to be all over this but they squawk nary a peep.  Allowing nature's warm sunshine and fresh breezes to dry our clothes ought to be a given, rather like recycling, if everyone did it we'd save an enormous about of energy.  But hey, if you live in the state of Washington or maybe Alaska, that might be another issue.  Weather being mercurial you can't always schedule your laundry to be done when you need it and in today's society everything seems to need scheduling.  On the other hand, if you could manage to line dry at least 50% or even 70% of your laundry during the three seasons you can manage, Spring, Summer, and Fall, then just consider the savings in either gas or electric.  A dryer running all weekend can cost quite a bit. 


It's not simply the line drying either, there is an etiquette about the whole thing.  If you've enough lines you can hang it all for a busy day; bed linens on outside opposite the direction of the prevailing winds—and you'll hang them first.  Laundry comes in layers.  The next inward line is filled with the whites of the unmentionables and socks and hubby's white shirts.  Next line comes the towels and washcloths and kitchen hand towels.  Finally comes all the dark stuff like the jeans and the sweats and all the rest.  With each layer you are avoiding being slapped with flap if the breeze is steady to strong.  (Noting that the modesty from our earliest times preserves much from view.)  Still, with most people I know, they don't care to be bothered with the effort; worse they have little appreciation for the cost savings yet the ultimate shame is they have no appreciation for that fleeting scent of freshness given by outdoor drying, for that isn't anything money can buy.


Today I noticed that very few of my neighbors utilize this method of drying their clothes and the ones that do certainly don't follow the method taught by my mother.  I thought it a shame and then realized that I'd never bothered to teach my own daughter anything about it at all.  About the only thing she notices is how wonderful the line dried clothes smell as opposed to those dried by the dryer—even with the same scented softener.


The second example actually came first.  I was busy paying the monthly bills, a chore we all dread but noticed that my calculator was running out of paper.  I didn't want to make the 15 mile trip into town but there was already a list of items I had to get so with regret I left home to get that chore done too.  When I buy items like paper for the printer or pens and such I do opt for the office supply stores where I can buy in bulk and save a little money and not have to make the trip again for a long time.  Thus I went to Staples® this morning only to find they were out of adding machine tape.


I circuited that store three times before stopping a clerk only to find out all they had left was cash register dual-ply.  At the check out, for I'd bought a new supply of pens and pencils for the house, the cashier asked me if I'd found everything I needed.  For the first time, I told her "No."  Further I told her that I couldn't believe an OFFICE SUPPLY STORE could actually be out of adding machine tape.  I left, crossed the highway to the Office Max® store in search of said adding machine tape.  Guess what?  They were out too. 


I walked out of the store in a daze.  I simply couldn't believe it.  How was I going to print all my bill information that I kept for my records?  How was I going to reconcile my statements and do my calculations? Those little rolls of paper are a given.  It's like toilet paper or facial tissues—it's gotta BE THERE.  I've spent decades attached to a good calculator—my fingers and the machine do the job so I won't have to. 


Did I go to Wal*Mart in search of that elusive 2 ¼" roll of white paper?  No, I went where I knew I could find it—at the grocery store 4 for $3.


I knew then that I had to locate and order ribbons for my calculator before it's too late unless it already was.  Thus I went BACK to both Staples® and Office Max® once home and safely back on the net to do a little searching.  Know this, Staples® doesn't even recognize a Monroe 4130 (which used to be a top of the line calculator used only by the pros because it was hard to burn them up and wear them out.  Think you can't—I have.  That little baby will smoke—literally.  Take a Sharp® or a TI® or a Cannon®, they are for home users, the Monroes were once the Ferrari's of calculators).  Luckily, Office Max® actually DID have them.  I ordered 6 ribbons, enough to see me through until the NEXT millennium hoping the calculator survives that long even if I won't.  Oh, and via the 'Net also bought 50 rolls of said adding machine paper.


It won't matter in the end.  I've turned into a dinosaur.  It won't matter if I manage live streaming for my website or how much I learn about all the new stuff out there and enjoy it.  Certain things, like line-drying my clothes while keeping my unmentionables hidden or using my calculator the keep the clutter from my mind and my finances in perspective don't matter. 


There are certain things in our lives we are comfortable with and prefer.  For all the oldsters who preached that "life moves too fast"—well, I'm beginning to agree with you. 



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