Thursday, September 28, 2000

I'm back home now after my little jaunt to Oklahoma. Something about this particular trip really made me think about how my life differs from other peoples'. No wonder my cousin's kids look at me like I'm from Mars. As far as they are concerned, I am! Nothing about my life is like theirs. Which is absolutely not to say that one way of life is better than any other; they're just so different.

My cousin's husband farms and ranches cattle. He (and the whole family) worry about elemental things: sun, rain, snow, wind, heat, and cold. Church is important to the family and to almost all the other families they know. Traffic is almost unheard of and there is no cable television or high-speed internet access. The biggest store in the nearest town is the grocery store. The nearest town with a grocery store is 17 miles away. Everyone drives a truck. It's common to see deer, skunks, and assorted other "wild" animals on a daily basis.

My cousin teaches school. She has two kids and a husband. She worries about "parent things"--what to fix for dinner, buying her kids school clothes, making sure the laundry is done.

On what seems to be exactly the opposite end of the spectrum is my life. I live in a huge city. The only time I worry about the weather is when I think how it's going to affect my weekend plans, or whether or not it's going to rain when I'm driving to and from work. Sprinkler systems take care of watering the few plants around. Money seems to be the most prevalent religion here. Even those who go to church don't seem to understand what it's really all about. Traffic is almost unbearable, even in the middle of the night. I get stuck in traffic every day! Every amenity is available to us--cable tv, high speed dsl, and so on and so forth. The grocery store where I shop is one block away. Anything I want is probably available somewhere in the city. Everyone drives SUVs or expensive cars (it seems like it to me). The only animals I see on a regular basis are the cats someone dumped in back of my apartment complex last year and birds.

I'm divorced and I have no children. I rarely clean house and do laundry only when forced to by necessity. I worry about my rent increasing (and my salary not increasing). I worry about crime and automobile accidents. I worry about being alone when I get old.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it really puts things in perspective to see how others live. I don't want to trade my life, but I miss having a family and doing things for them (although I don't miss slaving for an unappreciative husband). Maybe one of these days I'll settle down again. Who knows?