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Winston

The Minimalist

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I don't remember when my wife started calling me that. As long as I can remember, my default mode was doing the most with the least. Before it became fashionable, I just aimed for low impact.

The Marines was a real eye-opener for me. Never before had I been exposed to such a large number of loud, strutting peacocks. I understood it was part of the game, and I played my part. Hey, I can pull up my "command voice" and put the fear of God into a person, even today. But I don't like the sound of my own voice. For that matter, I don't like the sound of most folks' voices. I like it quiet. Always have.
When I told people I was in the Marines, I relished the incredulous look on their faces. Sun Tzu spoke to my heart, "To be unknowable, is to be unconquerable."

Some like to go into the wilderness and tame it. I want to be tamed by it. And I want it to give me all the hell it can before I cry uncle. I prefer primitive camping, not these colossal Class A motorhomes that isolate you from the nature you're there to see. I'd rather hike than get in a vehicle and rip up the ground under my feet. At night, it's a campfire and stars, not the latest Marvel movie on a laptop. Yeah, and screw the phones. The things that were supposed to make life easier now are a source of stress.

I honestly don't understand these pick-ups with the curb weight of a MIA2 Abrams. Needless complexity. Figure out the biggest thing you need to haul, get a truck with that size bed. And four doors means it's no longer a truck, but an SUV with a big bed. My truck is over 40 years old. Steel plate in the bed so I can throw stuff in and haul things, kinda like a truck's supposed to. Power nothing. Unergonomic bench seat, sloppy steering and a manual choke. I'm honestly not trying to "out-man" those that drive rolling living rooms. I just don't get it. How much "comfort" and "convenience" do you need? It's a truck.

My motorcycle is more modern. It's only 680cc's, but I really don't go above 100 mph that often. So why do I need bigger? Because it's light, it handles well and accelerates like crazy. If I drop my bike, I can pick it up all by myself. Without another person and / or a winch. I've heard some complain that it's "too quiet". No, it's just not obnoxiously loud.

That's where I diverge from my loud brethren. I observe. I learn. I react. I'm not distracted by the sound of my own voice. I'm not deluded with the hubris that I am more important than everything, and everyone around me. The less you try to kick the world's ass, the more you learn from it. I know that's not a "macho" outlook, but it's who I am. I would rather be humbled by one smart person than be surrounded by a group of slavish conformists.

I am not on any platform of social media (unless you count this). I cherish my privacy, and see no need to tell the world where I went for lunch. But since you asked, it was Burger King. My life is simpler, and more fulfilling. I'm not on my phone all the time. So, instead of looking at pictures of movies stars, I hear the wind through the trees, hummingbirds clicking. The splash of a salmon jumping. They are not background noises. They are certainly not distractions. They are my world. Why would I want to isolate myself from them?

I could be making more money with a higher stress job, but because I'm sane and don't have unrealistic spending habits, the money we have is enough. It's always enough. When the cash is short, we adjust.
I don't blame people, or demand that someone gives me more, because it's my right. Among the inalienable rights, being rich and coddled isn't high on the list. Pretty sure it's not there at all. So I focus on the more important things. I'm home every night, talk to my family, and kiss my wife goodnight. A few bucks more an hour is not worth giving that up.

I just don't want a lot. Never have, never will. I like keeping things simple, because it gives me the freedom and clarity to focus my energies on what makes sense to me. Not on what everyone on Facebook says.
I respect and appreciate complexity, but there's enough already in this world to enjoy.
It just seems like so many today overvalue their importance and impact on the world. And not knowing where one stands makes for a lot of angst.
You do what you do, I'll do my thing. But may I suggest an occasional quiet glance into the night sky? Do you see constellations? Balls of hydrogen? The beauty of creation?
That's for you to figure out. As long as you leave your cell phone in the glove box. The answer isn't there.

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  1. midnightpoet's Avatar
    It's the poet in me, I see bare trees in winter not as a scientific process but as "bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang." (Shakespeare sonnet)

    This morning my yard guy and I are building a wheelchair ramp for my wife. Hoping she'll be home from the hospital today (her blood sugar got down to 28. I told her later I was jealous because she got a helicopter ride). Life can be hard despite all you can do, but that's the thing. Do or do not. Some movie character said that, I think.
  2. Winston's Avatar
    Just as a post-scrip, one of my favorite quotes, and guiding principles:

    Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French aviation engineer.
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