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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

The Quality Of Life

I feel fairly disconnected from the daily hurly-burly in the US. Today I noticed I’m glad of it.

The snow is falling gently outside the window this morning. My wife and I sat for a quiet moment in the crepuscular light and watched it slowly silt the walk. In a former iteration of our lives, we would have had to get up before dawn and hurriedly tried to figure out if the lamebrains running our kids’ schools preferred a day off (for themselves) today or in the summer more and had decided to close school. The safety, never mind the comfort and convenience of the children and their parents never enters into it. We don’t bother with any of that anymore. My wife teaches our kids at home. Our kids aren’t rousted every morning like vagrants sleeping in a park for the convenience of people we have no regard for, aren’t sick all the time, and can read and write.

We’re supposed to shovel in the dark, then drive among the maniacs applying lipstick in the rearview or reading the newspaper propped on the steering wheel. When they’re not giving you the finger while they pass you going seventy in the breakdown lane, I mean. The drivetime radio this morning will be particularly, but not unusually, insane — like the farthest reaches of the Internet being screamed through a sewer. No thanks. I’ll walk down the stairs in a minute to work, and hear the footsteps of my little boy skipping through the house all day overhead, instead of the Mantovani version of The Immigrant Song piped through a cardboard speaker in the drop ceiling over my cubicle.

There was the usual drivel on Forbes this morning: America’s Most Affordable Cities. It’s the monthly installment of  You can move to Detroit! The quality of life is so high there! 

The quality of life. What in heaven’s name do they know about quality of life?

10 Responses

  1. Whoa, well said.

    My shop is currently 10 feet from my house – at my new place the commute will be much worse – probably closer to 75 feet or so. The only person I will be able to flip off will be my neighbor. Don't think that's going to be necessary. And, even with the mini-ice age we have going now, I think I will be able to make it to the shop even in the worst weather. Either that or decide I need a day off. Oh yeah…

  2. Good post.

    I think home schooling is the only sensible way to educate children today. The public schools are terrible and, I fear, will only get worse. Forty or so years ago (in my youth) they were quite good, not perfect, but good.

    I left the rat race, not like you by choice, but because of eventually, probably shortly, fatal medical problems. When I occasionally help out my wife (we are in the same medical profession) I enjoy patient care but hate going back to the "office" environment. The one time I was able to work mainly from home (using a virtual private network and electronic medical records), I really enjoyed it. I was more efficient and better able to concentrate on the task without the aggravations and interruptions so common in the clinic.

    Very few people have the option, and even fewer the courage and ingenuity, to be able to build a successful "work at home" career.

    PS. I like your furniture. If I hadn't built all of ours myself in my healthier years. I would buy a piece of two. Good luck to you and your family in your life away from the common herd.

    Thank you for writing your blog.

  3. Back in 1989 I turned in my work ethos and said time to play. I was fifty-five at the time — I have never looked back. No regrets — I have played with five grand-children and watch them grow into adulthood. While not a hermit – I do not suffer fools well and enjoy my own company. Books , music, sailing add to my pleasure of living here on the coast of Maine surrounded by woods but open to the sea. You Mr. Sullivan have made a wise decision to follow your path — its sad that more continue to live within the box. Ciao

  4. Hi Sixty Grit- Plane on, my bro.

    Hi Julie- In the interest of full disclosure, it was about 45 degrees in our living room at the time. As Lawrence answers his friend who asks him what the trick is to Lawrence's extinguishing a match with his fingers — because he tried it and it hurt like hell: The trick is not caring that it hurts.

    Hi Gary- You've broken my heart a bit. All the best to you.

    Hi Peter- That guy has a nice family. Detroit doesn't seem to have a lot to do with it. I applaud people who stick things out, but that's a different kettle of fish from publications telling you to move to downtown Beirut because the carbombs are nicely waxed. Our friend Misterarthur has a great deal of affection for Detroit. His Tour De Hood in my sidebar is worth a looksee.

    Hi Dabear- People are very nice to us here in our new home.

    Thanks to everybody for reading and commenting.

  5. BTW, Detroit has a "I'm a Believer" campaign for its Believe in Detroit PR campaign. Someone has pointed out that the typeface they used for the campaign logo is called "Crackhouse."


  6. Ooooo, that's embarrassing…

    it was about 45 degrees in our living room at the time.

    Yikes! We had a few days like that when I was a kid – you might have liked our house, we didn't even have a garage 😉 – but being in Western Washington, it was pretty rare.

  7. You're spot on with home schooling. There isn't any good reason to participate in the farce of public education right now.

    I envy your ability to work in the same place you live. That has to make up for a lot of other issues, and when you're frustrated with things, try to remember just how valuable that is.

    Are you obliged to clear your sidewalks? Last place I lived with a sidewalk we would get a ticket if we didn't clear the snow fast enough.

  8. I was doing a little bit of selling in a retail store last week. A father came in with his 14-year old girl and his 17-year old brother-and-sister twins. He was looking for a laptop computer for each of the older kids to take to college.

    I got to talking to the older girl. Smart–not just book smart, but mature and wise smart. She kept the conversation going, asking me about my job and my life. The boy wasn't much less articulate; but he was more interested in trying out the computers.

    The girl told me that they were home-schooled. She made a joke about how they lacked social skills, pointing out that they were in sports, music and other social groups. She was poised, confident and utterly comfortable talking to a virtual stranger. They're going to conquer the world, those two.

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