I realize I am not a bells and whistles kind of guy. For the most part, I am happy with the basics. This is particularly true when it comes to my possessions. If I were to lose my cell phone, it would not be the end of the world for me. In fact, most of what I own I could lose and it wouldn’t be a problem. Maybe I am different in that way, but I think we get a little too caught up in not just how much we have, but how much our possessions can do.
This morning, I enjoyed a wonderful run and walk in what for me were perfect conditions. The marine layer had not lifted so the sky was gray, the air a bit thick and moist, and there was no sign of any breeze. When I finished, I could not help but notice how much I enjoy my running shoes. They’re nothing fancy. I buy them on sale at Big 5 for $39.00 simply because they get the job done. I could go to the nearby outlets and purchase fancier, and far more expensive shoes, that have a bright color scheme, the latest lightweight materials, and more cushioning, but I doubt they are going to allow me to enjoy my run any more than I did today.
When I run, I make sure to take along my Fit Bit and Iron Man wrist watch. I know, I can buy a watch that comes with the fitness tracker that will also link to my blue tooth and and cell phone while letting me know when I have a call, text, or email coming in. However, one of the things I enjoy about working out is it is my time to be disconnected from everything else. I do not need to know how many messages I have waiting for me while I run. People can wait as far as I am concerned. A basic fitness tracker and watch do the job for me.
For that matter, I really do not need the iPhone I use. It’s the iPhone6 model, or maybe it is the 6S, I don’t know and I don’t care because I really just use it for phone calls, text messaging, and the occasional photo of one of my dogs. My wife linked my Fit Bit to my cell phone so I can check my steps each day. Otherwise, there are not any apps on it I use. I hardly ever go on line with it because I find I enjoy the larger screen on my lap top. Maybe this is why my phone is almost three years old and showing no signs of crashing.
It’s not that I am opposed to all the gadgets that come with the things we buy. I could sure use a rear view camera on my truck so I don’t have to strain my neck to see what’s behind me. However, since I still basically listen to FM radio when I drive, I don’t need to link up to my phone to listen to music. I’m not even making use of the CD player it has. Basically, the truck gets me from point A to point B and comes in handy when my wife and I hit Home Depot. Otherwise, I’d probably be fine with a motor scooter.
It’s no different when it comes to my clothing. While I am impressed with how fast all these new moisture wicking fabrics get rid of the sweat from our bodies, I still prefer a cotton t-shirt over any of them. I also notice I sweat less when I wear a cotton tee than when I wear the new fabrics. If it is cold out, give me a cotton sweatshirt and my cotton gloves and I will be just fine. If it looks like I will get wet from a coming rain storm, a basic trash bag that I have cut out holes for my head and arms works fine. It can fold it up into a nice little square and be tucked into my waist band instead of tying either of the fancy and expensive lightweight jackets I have that are designed to keep me dry around my waist.
Some might say I am too cheap to buy the things so many others have. That might be true, but I also do not like what I see what they do to people. When I was a teacher, I once went into the men’s restroom for a pit stop where I encountered one of the assistant principals at the urinal. He was taking care of his bladder with one hand while sending a text with the other. Some call this multi-tasking and making great use of one’s time. I call this a sad commentary on a person’s life. Do you ever want to be so busy or feel so needed you can’t go pee while doing nothing else?
I have been inside cars that were loaded with features I would never think of placing in a vehicle only to be shocked at how distracting they were for the driver who was not able to pay attention to the road or who was too distracted to notice I wanted to get out and walk for my own piece of mind.
Now my wife is very different than me in this regard. She uses the heck out of her phone and makes full use of everything it can do. She does the same with her car, commuting a longer distance to work and transporting her mother from one doctor’s appointment after another. She is in desperate need of a new iPhone. I charge mine about once or twice a week. She has to charge hers every day. My laptop remains plugged in because I use it at the same location. She uses hers the way it was meant to be used. I rely on her for when I can’t figure out important stuff like how to switch my computer from double space mode to single space when I accidentally hit the wrong key. Basically, I am a technological idiot which might explain why I have not embraced all the features my electronic devices offer.
Still, I am happy with my basic life. I do not require a lot to be entertained. I prefer a basic hamburger, French fries, and cold beer over anything the fanciest restaurant can serve at ten times the price. A simple to use flat screen television is all I need rather than some home theater system. As far as channels go, I could do away with about all but five or six of the gazillion channels I have to select from.
I am a firm believer in the Keep It Simple Stupid philosophy, partly because I am stupid and partly because I see no point in making something complicated just because we can. For 30 years I taught in the public school system where they are experts at making the easy complicated. All it did was make teachers frustrated, kids struggle, and parents wondering what the hell happened to our schools.
For me, the basics just seem more natural and allow me to enjoy what I have. I have no problem with people who like life more complex and more complicated; to each his own. However, for this basic guy, let’s not complicate life any more than it has to be. After all, isn’t that the job of our elected leaders?
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.