I found the box with my new IPhone on the drivers’ seat of my car, which I had left unlocked on a trip to town last week.
The UPS driver, recognizing my car from many visits to our driveway, wanted to save himself the long trip out to my house. So he popped it in and drove on.
I find this remarkable on several levels: The fact that I can leave my car unlocked in this small town, without a second thought. The fact that the UPS driver recognizes my car and chooses it as a delivery point. The fact that I can easily get a new IPhone without even having to leave my house.
Maybe you have to be born well before the last millennium to appreciate this. The first folks who settled in the valley that we see from our window wouldn’t be able to comprehend it at all. They had no such thing as a telephone, and they were snowed in for the winter.
It was a day’s long trip into town, what with the long slog through the snow to the highway. For the most part, whatever you had by October was what you got by with until spring.
When Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days, he fasted and was tempted by the devil. These days, my greatest temptations arrive when I leave this wilderness and go back to a place where shopping is easier.
When we decided to move here, I used to wonder how we would manage in a place where great merchandise was no longer available around the corner or, at most, a few subway stops away. A few decades ago, I would not have dreamed of living in a place like Dubois, partly for that reason. I had no idea what transformation the Internet would bring to our everyday life.
In fact, I can have anything I want, if I’m willing to wait a day or two and pay the shipping costs. When you consider that there’s no income tax in Wyoming, I actually come out ahead.
I’m even farther ahead if you consider that I don’t often find myself wandering into a shop, drawn in by something in the display window, and come out with something I neither need nor really want. I feel this same pull even as close as a trip to nearby Jackson. But here in Dubois, I buy only what I really need.
And given crowd-sourced reviews on the Internet, I usually wind up with the best product — not whatever brand happens to be in stock in the store I’m in.
Rather than paying (what is it now?) $20 each to watch whatever latest movie is on the big screen in the cinema two blocks away, we now troll around Netflix and the Roku channel. Thus we often catch truly wonderful films, either great obscure independents or big-screen features that we missed when they first came out.
A few nights ago, it was Night Train to Lisbon, an intriguing story and a wonderful mini-vacation, an escape to a distant city I visited long ago.
The next evening it was Finding Forrester with Sean Connery, a few hours’ enjoyable return to the world of New York City that I’ve left behind. All this with a glass of wine in hand and some healthy popcorn for free.
We don’t even have to leave behind some of the best that we enjoyed in that city. There on my kitchen counter is a bag of the best coffee beans we have ever found, fresh (well, since frozen) from Sahadi’s, our former go-to Middle Eastern market on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. We place an order on sahadis.com, and find it at our doorstep a few days later — along with the same olives, nuts, spices, and gourmet teas we used to enjoy in our kitchen back in New York.
Sahadi’s was one of the few things I thought I would miss from my former life in the city. But I don’t.
And I can hike or snowshoe around the corner, rather than just shopping. How we are blessed.
© Lois Wingerson, 2018
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