So, #derpcats are fed (why is it no one but me knows how to pour dry food?) and #derpfish is fed (he’s happier now in his bigger aquarium, and not hiding behind the heater looking like a sardine all the time, but he’s not making bubbles yet, so maybe not fully acclimated. If he doesn’t start making bubbles soon, I’ll do half a water change) #derpsarah is caffeinated and has had two ibuprofens, so it’s time to tackle the paint tray again…
This is a short post so you guys know I’m not dead. Mind you, death would be way easier, but not dead, no.
Yesterday I worked 12 1/2 hours on the house. Before you yell at me about doing too much, if I just do a couple of hours a day we’re going to completely miss the Colorado selling season this year, and I really, really, really don’t want to pay mortgage and rent for another year if I can help it.
Not that there’s guarantee it of course, but I feel due diligence I should try to have it up by mid-month and give it at last two and a half months to sell.
The big stuff is done, except for the living room. Today is a lot of moving stuff around, waxing floors, touching up woodwork, and staging. Oh, and a run to the dumpster.
Yesterday, when I came home at the end of a grueling day I realize we’ve forgotten what work is — those of us who don’t engage in manual labor as a rule.
What made the day grueling is that I was hammering down porch boards that had come loose/cupped (the Colorado sun is a b*tch) for most of the day. To be effective the hammer has to be heavy…
Despite my weight — as soon as the house sells and we have money for copays, I need to go see an endo, because my weight makes no sense whatsoever — I’m in fairly good shape. On normal days, walking three miles doesn’t even break a sweat, and I can carry at least half what the boys can carry over time — and mind, that’s not bad for a fifty two year old woman.
However the rhythmic effort of raising and dropping a heavy hammer over and over again (we have two heavy hammers and two “wimp hammers” which are not effective, because heavy allows gravity to help you, and that’s good. The boys named the two lighter hammers, btw. “Oh, man, do I have to use a wimp hammer?)) just about did me in. I have blisters on my blisters. My thumb and the middle finger of my right hand are now two very large blisters.
And then I had to suck it up and go finish painting the hallway.
And just when I was feeling sorry for myself, I thought of grandma who, at eighty, could clean a two floor house and wax all of the floors in an afternoon. And she could and did take care of a small backyard farm, look after “the creation” (rabbits, chickens and for a while pigeons) and the dog, and generally have the kind of day I had yesterday over and over again, at way older than I am.
Glenn Reynolds is fond of saying that if they could sell the effects of exercise in a pill, we’d all take it. He’s probably right. But here’s the thing: even those of us who exercise are nowhere at the level of “normal activity” for our ancestors.
Once we buy next (and possibly real) permanent-house, I intend to have a treadmill desk. My office here is at the bottom of narrow stairs and it’s not feasible to bring the treadmill down. But even with treadmill desk, I won’t be near the level of activity of my ancestors, which also involved lifting heavy stuff and scrubbing and hammering heavy stuff and…
What is this in the name of?
Well, we often wonder about the singularity. Or at least the transhumanists do. I think they should be talking about a SECOND singularity. Our way of life, say, since the mid 20th century on is completely unfathomable to anyone in history to the point they wouldn’t get it.
The majority of humanity in Western countries doing sit down work? Gettoutofhere. You only need so much writing and documents.
The reason we didn’t notice is that it happened so gradually. It took most of the twentieth century to change over.
But we are in a space that is completely incomprehensible to most of our ancestors.
Is it good for us? Who knows? It’s changing us. Some people don’t do well with ease. I’ve realized sometime ago a lot of the neurosis (“I want meaning” “Stop suffering in the world” etc.) in our young only attacked the young of the very rich before. I’ve also realized Heinlein was right. Humans thrive on strife. We might not have enough strife. This would seem to be reflected in the birth rates of Western countries, and the sort of bored wandering away from civilization and belief in noble savages on an epic scale.
I have no idea what is on the other side of this transition. If we don’t manage to make it all collapse in the meantime. (Yes, I’ve seen the news about the stock market, United and the WSJ. And the Chinese stock market. And Greece. I’m working while listening to Black Tide Rising, which is appropriate, but I’ve stopped myself from humming “this is the end of the world as we know it.” It might be. Or not. We are an ingenuous animal and we thrive on strife. And I’d bet the US against just about anything, including treason from within. Maybe I’ll hum “we shall overcome” or the battle hymn of the republic.)
There was a joke, when I was growing up that you could tell the different places “work” occupied in Germany and Portugal because Arbeit is a serious word with weight to it while Trabalho, or as often referred to “trabalhinho” isn’t. I don’t know. I met people who worked hard and laid back people who spoke both languages.
But whatever you call it, it is clear we’re each year more distant from work as our ancestors knew it. We are the lilies of the field.
What will that do to us?
I don’t know.
It will be interesting to see, though.
And incidentally, after this stint, sitting at a desk and writing, even for 12 hours a day seems like it will be a walk in the park. 😉