Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I come from a family of New Englanders, Quakers, rural people, hippies, vegetarians, farmers, organic gardeners, and educators. Some have been activists. We are more concerned with the well-being of the world (including humans, animals, and the environment) than with the glory of our country. We value thriftiness and integrity. We wear things out thoroughly before discarding them, which can mean things like driving cars with non-functioning gas gauges, eating off chipped plates, and wearing clothes with holes in them. We live according to our values and could be role models for those who observe and appreciate, but we don't bring attention to ourselves. We assume other people are living according to their own needs, abilities, and preferences, so we don't tell them they ought to live differently. We take what life brings us and make the best of it more than we fight the people who don't behave as we would wish them to. We avoid wealth and prestige. We seldom know what the latest fashions are. We are more troubled by pushy people than by taciturn people. In fact, we tend to be taciturn ourselves. We like to read. We are not good at singing, but we like to do it anyhow. We are not particularly handy with things like carpentry and machinery. We think that people who aspire to be investment bankers or soldiers are weirder than people who are imprisoned for their activism or people who choose to live without plumbing. We are rugged, outdoor people, but sometimes our ruggedness is tempered by illness. We are proud to be out of step with the mainstream.