I often daydream that someone from the pioneer days transported through time and landing in our modern culture. One random Tuesday, they were strapped to the plow, or making hotcakes, or shucking peas, and the very next minute they are sitting in the front seat of my Chevrolet Tahoe, next to gum wrappers and sippy cups, confused and bewildered that we are whizzing down a paved road at sixty miles an hour. I pat them on the hand and say “Welcome, my dear friend, to 2012. This is how we roll.”
In this quirky daydream of mine, I’m a time traveler interpreter, explaining to this person how modern society can be found wearing pajama pants at the grocery store, or that fried potatoes can be purchased in little stick form while waiting in our vehicles and sitting in a long line, handed to us though a little window by someone with a bad attitude and a nose ring. I show them pictures on my iphone while we’re stopped at a red light and take them to Kerbey Lane for omelets.
While others think I’m doing something productive while waiting in the carpool line, like listening to a book on tape or praying for wisdom, I’m actually explaining to this mythical traveler friend of mine how we got to this place. What has changed for the better through the decades and what, sadly, is left hollow and empty.
Most often I invite this person to visit when I see something strange, like when I’m driving in West Texas through a field of wind turbines or when I hear some random lady at Starbucks order a doubly-dip-mocha-frappylicious with two shots, served at 130 degrees. What would they think? I swear. It’s as if we have developed an entirely new language. Supersize it. Facebook. X-box. Oscars.
It might not be normal to have imaginary friends visit from the 1870s. But then again, we live in a strange place and time. Someone should peer through the window, rub away the dust, and see what society is doing with all this modern progress. Are we moving forward, or just faster, toward our own level of insanity and sugar and money-fueled depression? I like the idea of living in an era that’s filled with reading, and singing, and being happy to get a stick of candy in one’s Christmas stocking.
But strangely, I don’t feel the need to be transported to their world. I kinda like the fact that they show up here, and I can brag about how we get to ride on airplanes and order strawberry smoothies at Jamba Juice. I can imagine what it’s like in their world, the rising with the chickens. All that scrubbing and baking and weeding. There is no popcorn at the movies or trips to Maine. There are no girl nights or glasses of wine. No nail salons or highlights. And a life without any make-up or sparking water? No Advil or paper towels? Their days would be filled with mosquitos and chores. Itchy bonnets and eerie solitude. Any era that required you sleep in the same room with your children I’m not going to live in. My vote’s on air conditioning and king-sized beds.
I think there must be a blend of the two worlds. A little hot and a little cold, folded together to form a peaceful haven. This is the world I want to live in. The slow in-between. A world where the strange is put in perspective, the bonnets are left in the closet, and children have room to roam the wide open spaces of our modern lives. And at the end of the day, we rest easy in our down comforters, thanking God for grocery stores and gas-powered engines.