Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Colliding Cultures
Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or do without.

My Bible Study group was surprised that I knew this old maxim. I first heard it from Steve Etheridge, a local story-teller, but I remember it because it is on one of my coffee mugs.

My father was a young adult during the depression and my mother was a teenager. I was raised in a frugal home. It tickles me when environmentalists "discover" things that my family did during the 50s and 60s, such as composting, fresh food from the garden, and recycling.

This culture collided with the current consumer culture. As a corporate grunt, time was more precious than anything. What could be quicker than convenience foods with their redundant packaging and throw-away pans?

That's why my house is cluttered. I'm a frugal person living in a disposable society. How's that for justification?

In the 1970s when I started working in the corporate world, our scratch paper was cut from outdated manuals. When I left, we were using sticky notes. Recently I asked a friend for note paper and she handed me a small pad of stapled paper, recycled from the excess paper from their computer. Why not? So I put a basket next to the printer to catch those draft copies, homework notes and other stuff that gets printed on one side and then tossed. Use it up.

Why is shabby chic only chic if you buy it new? Why does my shabby just look shabby? I'm trying to see the chic in it. Do you know how much it costs for aged terra cotta pots? One day last summer, I walked by my potting bench and my eyes were opened to the treasure I had in all the old pots crammed to the back of the bottom shelf. These aged pots were wonderful in my garden. Make it do.

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