Last week was my birthday.
My wife didn’t wish me a happy birthday and my children did not acknowledge my special day.
I went to work and none of my co-workers wished me a happy birthday.
I felt sad.
But when I entered my office, my personal assistant called out, “Happy birthday, boss!”
That was lovely.
My assistant then asked me to go to lunch with her.
We stayed at the bar after lunch and then we went to her apartment.
While at her apartment, she said, “Do you mind if I go change into something more comfortable?
“Sure,” I replied.
My birthday had gone from a sad morning to a hope-filled evening
After a minute or two, she came out of her bedroom.
She held a birthday cake, and she was accompanied by my wife, my children, my friends, and my co-workers, all screaming, “Surprise!”
I certainly was surprised.
I was sitting on the couch - naked.
Digital Inspiration: “…Unlike Microsoft Word, there’s no built-in support for Watermarks in Google Docs but there’s a simple workaround – create a faded image with the text of your watermark and place that image behind the text of your document pages. Here’s how…”
I suspect that if you read this site with any regularity, the pandemic has you thinking about our society’s prioritization of the rights & desires of the individual versus the needs of the community. Using the purchase of a backyard trampoline for his kids as a jumping off point, Jeremy Williams wonders if we haven’t “tipped too far towards private consumption”.
Capitalism pushes us towards private affluence. We aspire to acquire our own things. Shared things are seen as second best, something of an inconvenience. Politics responds accordingly, prioritising economic growth and ‘more money in your pocket’, rather than shared goods and services. So everyone has their own lawnmower while the grass grows long in the park. People get their own exercise bikes or rowing machines, and the gym at the local leisure centre starts to look tired and under-funded. The wealthy pay for childcare or hire a nanny, but the early years nursery closes down.
Having access to your own things looks like progress, but there is a cost. Community is one of the victims. Shared spaces are places where community happens, where people mix and meet. Nobody makes new friends on their own rowing machine, in front of the TV. Inequality is another. Those who can afford their own won’t notice, but those on lower incomes rely much more on shared resources. When a library closes, it’s those on the margins of society who lose access to books, internet access, or a warm place to sit and do their homework. There is also an environmental cost, as private ownership means endlessly duplicated goods, many underused objects across many owners rather than a few well used objects that are shared.
(via dense discovery)