Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mobile Marriage

I recently got married in September and have decided that I have it pretty easy.  Well, let me back up for one second in case my husband reads this.  I decided that my marriage has different advantages than, let’s say, my parent’s marriage.  Here’s why:

I have always found it amusing to listen to people older than myself describe the technological advancements that have occurred in their lifetime.  Computers are now smaller than bedrooms, cell phones are detached from car consoles, and televisions no longer require “rabbit-ears” and tin foil, and the youngest family member standing in just the right spot holding the extraterrestrial contraption.  I also enjoy the consistent comments of “one on one interactions don’t exist anymore; everything is online; there isn’t even a real person on the other end of the telephone.”  Honestly I can’t complain!  I don’t like dealing with most people one on one, I’m glad I can do everything from the convenience of my pajamas, and it’s probably a good idea for me to converse with an automated voice since I tend to curse at people when I’m displeased.  Especially when calling 1-800 numbers.

This got me to thinking about how different my husband and my relationship has been because of these advances.  My parents, for example, did not have the same conveniences affecting their courtship, engagement, etc.  Granted, my parents were not sending love letters via horse and carriage, but they certainly used home telephones and passed notes in class.  They could not text each other if they were going to be late for a date, could not send an email confirming flower arrangements for the wedding, and certainly did not update their relationship status via Facebook.  My husband and I can have instant communication at all times, which is certainly a luxury when you’re in a healthy marriage.

And no, we do not need to know where the other is and what they’re doing at every moment in time.  Actually, our techno-savvy generation may experience a whole new realm of difficulties when it comes to dating.  My mother was able to call my cell phone at ANY time during a high school date (under which the stipulation for staying out and possessing a cell phone was that I always answer), my college roommate would AIM chat my crush behind my back (literally, the desks faced opposite walls) about midnight rendezvous, and many a cheater was revealed via online stalking between my girlfriends and I.  Oh, the broken hearts, dramatic online arguments, and rumor mills of my e-world past...
But now I’ve done the inevitable: argued my own argument and changed my mind!  So what if I can text or email or Facebook my husband via Blackberry every millisecond!  How romantic was it when my father showed up on dates when he was supposed to and my mother had faith that he would!  (This is giving my dad way too much credit by the way, but alas they are my example.)  I guess they had their ups and downs because of the amount of technological communication they had 27 years ago, and my husband and I  have ups and downs too...and instant “when are you coming home? you’re late and I’m hungry and want to bitch about work” technological communication at our fingertips.

Monday, December 28, 2009

O Christmas Tree

It's the day after Christmas and I'm driving down Main Street, America.  Empty parking lots are littered with remnants of Christmas Tree lots: make shift fences, homemade signs, and toppled firs that no one wanted this year.  The scene was a sad one, especially to anyone who has a bleeding heart for forests and an oxygen addiction, like myself.  I quickly found myself judging all the selfish Americans who require "live" Christmas Trees for the holidays.  When did this become a tradition, cutting down (large) living plant-life and cramming it into our homes?  And why?

One hundred or two hundred years ago this wouldn't have seemed so strange.  There was an abundance of trees, and how wonderful to bring one into your home for a month or so, filling the air with scents of evergreen?  Then together families decorated the adopted tree with trinkets and crafts they had handmade.  After December 25th the tree was chopped into smaller pieces and used as firewood.  This quaint image seems harmless and endearing.  Not the picture I see now in 2009.

We continue our drive and so many questions pop into my head.  What do they do with the trees no one bought?  What do people do with their trees after Christmas?  Do they plant more trees to replace the ones they cut down?  The answers I came up with are burn them? trash them? and I hope so?

To put myself at ease I decided that yes, they do replace the trees.  Christmas Tree farms exist only by the sale of Christmas Trees, so therefore must always be meeting that demand with planting more supply.  I cross my fingers as I say this.  I’m still not sure how to answer the other questions, and I bet there isn’t just one answer.  My family has always had fake trees, so I am inexperienced in the art of discarding evergreen.  Most cities have tree drop-offs and pick-ups, typically for a fee or “donation.”  I’m assuming the tree lots utilize this as well, or re-market it as firewood.  But since I’m no expert, do not take my word on this.

So at what point will our craving for ancient traditions be satisfied by modern realizations?  I am no saint when it comes to the Christmas Tree phenomena; the fake tree that we use at one point required manufacture, which required resources and energy.  The question I challenge myself with is just the tip of the iceberg and becomes so overwhelmingly complex when you begin to think of all our ridiculous, wasteful habits that I almost can’t continue asking myself the question.

My only solution for myself, which is where we all need to begin, is to keep the fake tree I have until it outshines Charlie Brown’s.  After that I am starting the Christmas Cactus or the Christmas Ficus, or Tinsel Bamboo.