Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Conversation with Absinthia, Part 7

photo by Leonard J. DeFrancisci

This is part of a continuing series of email letters exchanged with my Swedish friend, Absinthia. To see the whole series, start with Do the Right Thing.


I am so happy to have a husband that very much agrees with me about living simply. The only thing he refuses to do, is get a real outhouse toilet. I grew up with one, so it seems natural for me, but he grew up in a city, with city-folks for parents.

It is very easy for me to just avoid certain things, like buying everything I see, going for trends and fashions, or believing I need a lot of stuff, and thinking that I need a lot of money to be happy.

We have chosen to not accept that way of life. We cannot work full time because of health issues, so we have to live on less money than what is considered the lowest income level in Sweden today. And yet we have a more stable financial situation than most of our neighbours. Funny, that. ;-)

We put our local library to full use, and by doing so we get to read all the books we want, see all the movies we want, play all the games we want, and visit a lot of exhibitions, presentations and talks, for free! :-)

We are to be considered poor with such a low income, but we live a much richer life than we did when we where still doing that “normal lifestyle.” I am so happy we turned off that road.

We have not made all the choices freely, though. Neither I nor my husband is in full health. We are not able to work full time--our health does not allow such luxury. But this made us think about what is a good life, what do we really cherish? What do we really want? What do we really need?

Maybe we would have made these choices later if our health hadn´t demanded that we take these steps, but I am sure we would have made them one day. We both think too much to not have come to these conclusions eventually.

- Absinthia

Dear Absinthia,

I have an example of what happens when you don’t have a compelling reason to make a needed change...

When I was in my 20s, I worked in a lab at a university. The lab had a radioactive experiment that had been run, and it was sitting idle, to let the low-level radiation half-life out. The radiation was so weak, that a piece of paper would stop it, and it was contained in a glassed-in ventilated chamber.

For the year and a half that I officed in the lab, I was unable to get pregnant, and the physicist who also worked in the lab had trouble with his wife carrying any pregnancies to term--probably because the ventilator fan had been turned off, and the air exchange was with the room’s air.

Years later, I realized that the low-level radiation, which the physicist and I were exposed to for 8 hours a day was probably causing the problem. How could I have been so blind to that?

I guess we often only see what we want to see, or what others like my boss and the nuclear industry want us to see.

- amanda


It proves once again, that nuclear power is not worth the price it takes from us. There are so many other ways to heat our houses and light our lamps, we don´t need this risky experimenting with our lives, our bodies, our future, and our world.

- Absinthia

This conversation is continued here:
A Conversation with Absinthia, Part 8.


  1. Absinthia has added a comment:

    BTW, today it is the 25 year memorial of the acid rain from Chernobyl. So, lots of info in every media of course… in amongst some gruesome details, I learned that still the recommendations are to not pick or eat the mushrooms, because of the levels of Cesium. I miss Granny’s chanterelle stew, and fresh picked, fried morels on toast.

  2. Absinthia says I have a wicked sense of humor, for putting the outhouse picture on today's post. hee hee