20101025

Time Lost and Found

Scrounging around my grandparent's hall closet in search of something usable as a salt cellar, I was overwhelmed by the dust and pet fur that had worked its way into every nook and cranny. I pulled everything out, running a rag over each item, and vacuumed the shelves. The difficulty came in putting everything back, as the "stuff" somehow expanded as it sat in the hall, even after throwing away odd bits and pieces. However, I did rediscover two art deco clocks I cycled back into usage.
This Telechron 4H55 desk clock, c. 1930s - 40s, was one of several my grandmother kept on her desk. It now has pride of place on top of one of the bookshelves in my office, which used to be her office.
The Seth Thomas Romance E868-000 was my grandfather's alarm clock. It now sits on a chest of drawers in my bedroom.

I have a newfound appreciation for these objects, their simple, clean lines, their mass, the materials and workmanship that went into them, even the mechanical sound of the gears. Things just aren't made that well anymore, a drawback of progress. Plastics and mass production may have enabled people from all socioeconomic backgrounds to fill their homes with more items, but they also created a disposable society. Our possessions are no longer meaningful and are thrown away and replaced with alarming frequency.

And so it is in other aspects of our lives. Like mass production, television and social networking have cheapened our relationships. We no longer engage in meaningful discourse that encourages us to think, we broadcast short, evocative blurbs that arouse strong emotions and hinder our ability to form cogent thoughts. Everything flows smoothly enough until someone disagrees, then all civility disappears in the barrage of blazing generalities. We feel extremely entitled and forcefully assert our liberties. But we have forgotten that with freedom comes responsibility: assuring you do not impinge on someone else's freedom; taking the time to truly listen to others respectfully, as you wish others would listen to you; basing an opinion on more than just a cursory look...

Courtesy isn't the only interpersonal casualty of the times, loyalty is as well. The ability to easily collect 1,568 friends has made them just as disposable as that one dollar colander. The trivial comments of a friend made today soon meld into the sea of inanity and she or he is soon forgotten.

It makes me more than a little sad that we have forsaken quality for quantity in so many aspects of our lives, particularly since the limited time each of us has to accomplish what we were meant to do in our lifetimes is so precious.

And for those who made it all the way through this post without falling asleep and are wondering about the salt holder, I found a small, lidded condiment dish that should do the trick!