There is a man in Gunnison, Colorado, who was born into the wrong century. He is a huge bear of a man, made larger by his cowboy hat and boots. He prefers horseback to the confines of a car, he is continually horrified by what he hears on the news, he has straightforward 19th-century morals and a handlebar mustache to match. He is a part-time hunting guide (a good fit, allowing him to spend lots of time in the wilderness doing man stuff with other like-minded men,) and a full-time county sheriff in a touristy ski town known for its dope-smoking trustafarians (not a good fit. Facial piercings? Cars more expensive than houses crashed into snowbanks by spaced-out 17 year olds? No, not a good fit.) He is a good man, I think, but continually disappointed by humanity and by his inability to live a simple cowboy life where a day of hard work makes a warm fire perfectly satisfying.
I’m thinking of this man as I realize how lucky I am to be living in a time of affordable air travel, astonishing availability of food ingredients, Skype, and the right to vote. What a dynamite combination for a woman like me! I feel so lucky to be living during the window of time that encompasses both daily flights from Hamburg to pretty much anywhere AND relatively good air quality. I’m not kidding myself – I know that this lifestyle is temporary – and I try not to take too much advantage of the environment-raping global commerce practices that make Brazilian mangoes and New Zealand kiwis available in January in Germany.
I wonder how little Frida will fit into her time and place? She, like other kids-these-days, is terrifically interested in electronics despite our best efforts to limit screen time to ‘never’ or ‘not until you’re 5’ or ‘not unless there’s a really terrible flight delay and we’ve been travelling for more than 12 hours and even then you can only watch Paul Simon music videos from his seminal album Graceland’, depending on our mood. She seems strong-willed and physical, which could be a huge waste given the lack of opportunities for female gladiators these days. She likes books, turning the pages as you read them to her or cooing over them herself during quiet time, which as we all know is a total loss given the state of print media. She’s a good eater, she likes to swim, she loves to reorganize the contents of drawers (including but not limited to putting dirty laundry neatly into the bookcase.) Whatever she ends up doing with her life, it will be no surprise if it somehow involves waste management. This morning, Frida discovered that the trash can lid is the portal to heaven: I heard a rustling behind me as I stirred our breakfast oats on the stove, and turned around to find Frida absolutely covered with the remnants of last night’s homemade chocolate pudding, which I had piously disposed of after realizing that when one’s husband is on a business trip to Moscow one is not allowed to completely finish his serving after consuming one’s own. Frida was unsurprised by my reaction (‘Aack, you little raccoon, let’s wash those hands!’), knowing that the garbage is a ‘Nein, nein, nein’ zone, but was noticeably less keen on her oatmeal after the garbage-tastes-like-chocolate discovery.
Perhaps it’s not too much to ask that , in addition to living in the time of GoogleTranslate (it’s life-changing, it really is,) I also be allowed a 21st century solution to the problem of toddler refuse access? A floating trash can that hovers a meter from the floor? A garbage chute that automatically rejects precious objects (and which proffers tiny tupperware rather than allowing me to throw away four spoonfuls of chocolate pudding)? A countertop incinerator? Help me, future! Your time is now!