Dec 22, 2016

Time Travelers

I've been on a bit of a time travel kick for awhile. I guess it started with reading The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, but it extended to stupid plotlines for good StarTrek episodes and movies, and then I found myself reading The Lathe of Heaven and The End of Eternity, both 60s and 70s time travel science fiction.

The accouterments of our lifestyles here are distinctly anachronistic. We have no microwave, no dishwasher, no laundry dryer, no television. I take public transportation to work from our apartment built in 1900, and on the weekends, we buy vegetables from the green grocer stand on the church plaza square, and everyone pays cash. Many of the grocery stores no longer have plastic bags available, so you automatically carry cotton totes with you. The bread comes from the bakery, the fish from the fishmonger, the hammer from the hardware store on the corner. We take photos on cameras older than our parents.

Saori's coworkers caught up with us on a recent trip. They can't believe we want to go back to the US. Indicating the roasted venison and potato dumpling lunch we were enjoying, they asked, do you know how much this would cost in Boston?

Strolling today in the double sunlight from massive glass storefront windows reflecting onto immaculately clean, large paved sidewalks, there are moments where Germany feels like the future arrived too early. A world largely without poverty, with universal health care, incredibly low unemployment and a strong GDP, where mothers and fathers are given paid months and months off to raise new children, where you can get a doctor to prescribe you two weeks vacation because you are too stressed by your job. A modern transit system to whisk you almost anywhere in the country. An emphasis and respect for handcraft, and living in balance with the environment.

But the rest of the world does not live in that world, and this is coming to be a problem.

It feels like we are caught in an alternative dimension. We didn't derail our lives coming to Germany, but we are on a strange sidling, coasting while time barrels by.
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