Thursday, March 23, 2006

Two Kinds of People...

I'm rereading the Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. The best thing about them (after those wonderful charcoal or soft pencil illustrations by Garth Williams; as a child Little House on the Prairie was my least favorite of those books because it was the only one I had in an edition without the illustrations) is that you get to see people making things. Making a garden, making cheese, making bullets, making straw hats, etc. Sometimes you ask yourself questions like, If I were alone somewhere, two days from a town, and I needed a secure door for my house, would I be able to figure out how to make one?

I'm not all that big fan of the "two kinds of people in the world" thing, but... I think there's two kinds of people in the world: those who enjoy the challenge of figuring things out and "making do" and those who don't. My father is one of the first; just as one example, I introduced him to (purchased) vine charcoal, and the next time I saw him he'd made some on his own. My mother is one of the latter. I knew her on several occasions to make a fairly clever substition in cooking due to being out of an ingredient, but she seemed to regard it as degrading and I never saw her take any pleasure in figuring things out generally.

As it possibly is with any of these "two kinds" divisions, people in one camp may not understand people in the other camp. I know I'm one of those who enjoy figuring things out on my own and making do, and I can't understand why anyone wouldn't. When I figure out how to do/get/make something without resorting to a trip to the store, I not only have the pleasure of problem-solving, I get a little charge out of being independent enough to do it on my own.

2 comments:

boinky said...

Yes, making things do is fine...but it takes time...and energy.
With women working 40 hours then doing housework, it's easier to buy stuff than fix them...
Of course, you could do like we do in Asia: Hire a Filippina maid for low wages to do it..

Suzanne said...

Many people in the USA hire illegal aliens for low wages. Here it's usually Mexican maids.

Of course no one can make everything he needs, and with limited time due to jobs we have to pick and choose our projects. But it's worth pointing out the job we work at to get the money to buy stuff instead of fixing the old also takes time and energy, as does the shopping for new stuff. I've also noticed that people who say they don't have time to, say, mend a tear in their pants often have plenty of time to browse stores or to watch TV.