Thursday, June 19, 2008
(The inspiration for this post came to me after talking to a couple who don't have cable and rarely watch TV.)
Here are ten questions (some with related sub-questions). If you thought these were good questions, send them to people you know and see how they answer them.
1. What if you no longer had cable television in your house? Could you do that?
2. What if instead of e-mailing certain family members or friends, you called them up on the phone or just wrote them letters? Could you do that? Do you think a person who completely stopped using e-mail could function in our society?
3. What if you wrote and mailed a physical letter to a dear friend you haven't talked to in a while, instead of e-mailing him or her? Could you do that?
4. Could you go two weeks without communicating by e-mail? (outside of work-related stuff)
5. What if, in response to a long period of time with high gas prices, families decided to live closer to each other? Or friends made a conscious effort to live within walking distance of each other? Could you see yourself doing that? Is that a good idea?
6. Could you stop buying new clothes -- except for those out of sheer necessity -- for a year? Six months?
7. Could you live without the Internet? Are there any websites you positively couldn't live without? What would be more meaningful to you -- a self-published newsletter sent to your house or the same information presented in digital format?
8. Would you enjoy your hamburger as much if you had to slaughter the cow yourself and prepare it? Would you keep buying certain brand name clothes and other high-ticket items if you had to meet the person who put the items together overseas? And see how they live, and how much money they make, and watch their fingers dance around that sneaker or pair of cargo pants and put it together? And spend a few hours in that factory, listening to the hum of a hundred machines?
9. Think back on the last subway ride you had or trip to the mall. Remember the crowd of people -- mostly people you don't know. What if suddenly you had to work with and depend on them in some capacity; these total strangers becoming your necessary friends. Would you see this as an opportunity to meet new people and as a challenge? Or would this horrify you?
10. How long would you work in a job you hated or that bored you? If they paid you very, very well? And gave you dental insurance? Would you take a pay cut to work at something that was dear to your heart? Would you stop eating out and buying as many new clothes and accessories, if it meant working reduced hours at a job and having more time to either work on creative pursuits or spend with your family? And do you think you will ever be able to achieve a living by doing things you love?
Bonus question: Do these questions a) intrigue you, b) annoy you, c) anger you, or d) give you anxiety?