If I ruled the world
While sorting through one of my many archaeological piles of stuff recently, I came across a years-old magazine that I had saved (for no reason that I can discern.) As I leafed through its pages, I came across an item that consisted of readers telling the one thing they’d change about Christmas. Most of their responses were pretty predictable; allow no Christmas merchandise in stores before Halloween, destroy all recordings of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” put limits on outdoor lighting displays, more family and less commercialism. Basically, things we’d all like to change if there were a way to achieve it.
(My archaeological piles of stuff, by the way, are the things that get piled up on my desk and bookshelves. When I need to find some particular item, I make my best guess at when I last saw it. That way, I know approximately how deep to dig down into the pile).
That article started me thinking about some of the things I’d change if I had the power– not necessarily things about Christmas. I’ve already changed quite a few things about Christmas, things that help get me and my family back to basics and out of the greedy, extravagant, flashy, commercial rat-race. I haven’t changed all the world, or even all my family, but things are better. There are a lot of other things I’d like to change, mostly little things that could make a big difference to a lot of people, not a few of which are simply some of my pet peeves that not everybody would agree need changing.
For one thing, I’d put a stop to all this self-serve business. I don’t like standing in line to order my lunch and then having to carry it to my table and, later cart the leftovers and napkins and dirty silverware away. If we don’t watch out, we’ll find ourselves being told to wipe off the table and sweep the floor. I’d really like to have someone pump my gas for me, wash my windshield, and check the oil like they used to not so many years ago. Have you noticed they don’t call themselves service stations anymore? And for a good reason, where’s the service?
I suppose it’s asking too much to expect the storekeeper to gather up my grocery order for me, but I wish supermarkets would quit thinking up things the customer has to do that were done by the employees for most of my lifetime. I rather enjoy choosing my own head of lettuce and browsing to find a new product I’d like to try, so I don’t really mind trundling a shopping cart around and picking out my own groceries, but why do I have to unload the cart at the check-out counter and then load the bags of groceries into my car? In past years, the clerks did those things, now they stand and wait for me to do them, holding up the line and irritating the customers behind me.
I’ve recommended a few simple changes in household appliances over the years, but the right people seem not to have heard me. At least, they haven’t done much about any of my ideas. I’d still like to see the temperature controls on my refrigerator placed on the outside of it instead of way in the back of the freezer where I can only adjust it by unloading all my frozen foods and climbing onto a chair.
The racks in the dishwasher still rust out long before any other parts of it begin to show their age. And replacement racks still cost almost as much as a new dishwasher. How much can those racks really cost? Surely not as much as a new pump, or not much more than new door seals. Apparently you have to buy not only the racks but all the assembly that supports them and a retirement annuity for the technician who installs them. How about racks that won’t rust; has anybody considered that possibility? I loved my little cordless mixer but can’t find a replacement since it stopped taking a charge. And, please eliminate electric can-openers altogether.
I’d make it mandatory that all the things that are available to computer users on-line, must be made available to those without computers as well. I’ve been made to feel like a second class citizen for not being able to get certain things, access information, or participate in some activities that are available only through the Internet. A national organization that I joined many years ago (before everybody had access to web sites) has now gone completely electronic and I can no longer communicate with them, or file the reports I am required by the bylaws to furnish. I like the organization and don’t want to resign, but they don’t seem to care that I can’t stay in touch. Not being online is my personal choice and should not be a requirement for membership. I guess, in the end, we can’t change the world; the world changes us.