If you've read more than three or so posts here, you know I like The Way Things Were. And I'm not one of those freaks who thinks that EVERYTHING was better back when you had to root and grub in the earth for your very sustenance and die an old man at 40, but there were certain things that I think we would have been better off bringing into the new century with us.
And if not with us, then perhaps it'd do some of us good to remember what it was like, if we're able to, or if not remember it then be allowed to witness it somehow, experience it so we can appreciate what we have.
What the hell was all this brought on by, you ask? I'll tell you. Bush hogging. See, the landlords who own the building, the land, and the horrid cracked-concrete parking lot don't seem to be too moved by the necessity to mow the grass. And it being mostly a field out here, there's tons of what's called Johnson Grass, which is a 7' tall weed, and grows like, well, a weed. And me being a basically neat and OCD sort of guy, I decided to bring the ancient tractor and the bush hog up here Sunday and treat the company to a free trim.
So, the decision came down to this: borrow the brother's truck with trailer hitch and his trailer, load the tractor up, secure the back gate with chains because the rig is too long to fit entirely on the tractor, then drive verrrry slowly up to work, unload, cut the grass, then REload the tractor, REsecure the gate with chains, drive BACK home slowly, then REunload the whole thing. End result? Cut grass, and three hours of sweating and chains. Or, I could simply drive the damned thing up here, trim the verge, then drive it home again.
Decision simple. Implementation? A little different than I assumed.
And that's where we tie in. Speed. When I drive the four miles to work in the morning and in the evenings, it takes me, literally, four minutes to go from Point A to Point B, or vice versa. In my truck, add a few minutes. Still, quite quick. Now, try it on a tractor whose roadworthiness is good but whose road speed in high gear and full throttle is that of a quick jogging person, and that four mile trip turns into a journey of almost half an hour's duration.
In that time, both going and coming, I had ample time to think. It's what time spent on the tractor is good for. I looked at the ditches, the fields, the road, and in general really enjoyed seeing so much that I don't ordinarily see while traveling at 75 mph. And I got waved at a lot. Apparently a guy on a tractor on the road is such a common sight that people feel quite comfortable waving at strangers on International Harvester Super A's.
So of course, my mind went thataway, and you can figure the rest. I spent the day thinking about what it must have been like when the fastest you travelled was at a horse's walk, or trot if you were going a short distance. The airline flight that takes five hours to get from here to Eugene, Oregon and three days by car would have been, I'm sure, a journey of weeks and weeks.
So, in short, appreciate what you have. And if you have the chance, try doing something the old fashioned way. It might surprise you.