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Tag: rural

How rural living prepared me for the quarantine

Considering I’ve been self-isolating a bit earlier than when the quarantine became mandatory in my country (Spain), I’m now on Day 33 of my stay-at-home life. So I’ve started wondering, What would I do if this was 1990 instead of 2020? How would my ‘quarantine lifestyle’ be like?

Riccardo Mori’s How I’d live this quarantine if it was 1990

I really enjoyed this post from Riccardo Mori about what it would be like to quarantine at home in 1990 instead of 2020. Our lives would not have looked much different.

I’d have lots of books to read (or finish reading) at my disposal.

I’d have tools and materials I could use to write my fiction, from an Olivetti electric typewriter, to a old IBM PC AT connected to a printer.

I could keep in touch with friends and relatives via landline telephone.

I could get the news and a bit of entertainment from TV, radio, and papers.

I could listen to vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes on the home Hi-Fi stereo, or in my room with my old Walkman. My parents owned a fair amount of records, there was always music in our home.

In 1990 I was still living with my parents, so if we wanted to spend time playing together, we would take out our boxes of board games and cards.

In 1990, I was 9 years old so my life would look drastically different. I’d be on a farm with dial-up internet. (We had 26400 bps on a good day). I wouldn’t be worrying about how my investments were doing, nor what I’d be making for dinner every night.

I wouldn’t be doing any of the adulting tasks I would now. I would be playing outside in the woods. Riding my bike around the dirt roads. Playing video games and reading books (I was a voracious reader.)

I would not be distant learning through any video chat. I wouldn’t be working on assignments online. There was barely a line then and it had to be turned on with a telephone line. It was still a process to go online.

Instead of trying to think about the obvious differences of being a child instead of an adult, I think about how my life then has prepared me for life now.

I have a lust for learning and reading. That started young and never stopped. I tore through books and read through anything I got assigned or got my hands on from our local library. Rural libraries are a gift and a lifeline.

I always had projects to do. When I was a kid, it was teaming with my brother in NBA Jam to keep track a record book of our accomplishments, or keeping track of where we were in Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana.

I had a steady supply of books and acres of open space to run around in and explore. I grew up on an 82 acre farm, then 40 acres. I could barely see a glimmer of lights at night from the neighbors house in the winter when the leaves were off the trees. It was 60 miles form the capital of our country, but felt an entire world away from everything.

I think about that all the time. Even more now as we’re sitting inside trying to figure out how to make dinner interesting and what pantry items we can use up today.

I think about how well growing up in the country prepared me for having to manage my own entertainment and fill the hours of my days.

The internet has certainly given more opportunities for exploration and communication. But learning to fill the unstructured hours of my youth prepared me well for the modern Quarantimes.

This could be the story of my childhood. I grew up in a small town in Northern Virginia. Berryville has about 2,000 people. My high school was 550 and my graduating class was 168.

We were near enough to Washington DC and Baltimore to pick up some music from outside the Christian and Country stations which ruled our airwaves. But it was still isolated where the goal was to get out.

“Basically, this story is a controlled experiment,” I continue. “Napoleon is a place that has remained static for decades. The economics, demographics, politics, and geography are the same as when I lived here. In the past twenty-five years, only one thing has changed: technology.”

This paragraph sums up Berryville. Static and isolated. The internet changed everything. I often hear how the internet made the world a smaller place, but for me, it made the world much larger.