Monday, June 09, 2014

A Shortcut to Mushrooms

This week I'm house-sitting for some friends in Corning. It's pretty much the same as being at home––myself in a big empty house––only for two differences: Instead of being completely alone, there are two dogs named Patch and Molly (no, those aren't drugs I'm on, there are actually two dogs with me) and instead of being 20 miles from anywhere, it's very close to just about everything I normally spend hours every week driving to get to. That last point isn't something I think of often, but it's amazing what a difference it makes.

Earlier today I decided I would make fish and chips for supper. When I got the stuff I'd bought on my way into town out this evening, though, I realized I'd forgotten to buy potatoes. Normally, this would simply mean I would be eating fish and chips. And so my initial reaction was one of disgust.

Then I realized, however, that if I wanted to go and get some potatoes, it would only take like three minutes. I wouldn't even have to stop pre-heating the oven. In fact, it was really unnecessary that I'd even bought stuff on my way into town. Or that I'd even thought about what I was going to make prior to five minutes before when I wanted to make it.

It's such a small thing, but the difference it makes is kind of mind-boggling when I think about how much time and energy I spend just making sure that I have mushrooms, hamburger, olive oil, paper towels and so on when I'm supposed to have them and in the right order with the right people. It's kind of depressing.

Certainly, it's much cheaper to live where I do––even when you factor in the $250/month I spend on gasoline. But at the same time, I wonder how much more I might accomplish if I didn't spend so much of my schedule just figuring out how to be in all the places I need to be that are not where I live and do so in the most fuel efficient way possible.

But then, it's hardly the worst situation I could imagine. I've been in countries before where the question wasn't how efficiently you could get across town; it was if you could get across town at all. Maybe someday I'll be looking back wistfully at the time when all I had to do to get potatoes was get in my own car and drive half an hour on perfectly serviceable roads and pay for them with a credit card and wonder how much I'd be able to accomplish if I only had to spend an hour a day traveling.

For the next couple days, though, I'll be enjoying only driving three minutes.


Jonathan Hinterberger said...

Andrew, it's *even more* ironic that you are house sitting in NY as I was house sitting in PA...

Andrew said...

Indeed it is.