Thursday, 11 January 2007

The Price of Leisure

The rain is lashing against the window - so I can’t go for a walk.

Nothing on TV.

Don’t feel like surfing the Net.

Might as well go back to bed.

How did people cope before the Net, TV or even radio? In reality they didn’t have much leisure time. It was more a case of surviving. Work filled most of the day. In the evenings, the men might go to a pub. Social events associated with religious institutions played a big part in women’s lives. Children were adept at entertaining themselves. There was no need to worry about how to pass their time in retirement - most didn’t live long enough to retire, (my Grandfather, my Father and two of his three brothers died before they were 65 yeas old).

How things have changed. Today, people work because of leisure. They work to put money into their pension fund. Then there’s the two foreign holidays taken each year, satellite TV, buying DVD’s, Broadband rental, attending football matches, the cinema, theatre, taking the kids out for a meal, mobile phones for themselves and the kids, the must have gadget, the must have designer cloths - all these have to be paid for. So people work so that they can be entertained in there limited periods of leisure.

One of the prices we pay is the loss of community. People are so busy, providing for their family, that they no longer have time to interact with their neighbours.

I might have related this story before -my cousin phoned, he was quite upset, he had failed to attend a neighbours funeral. He hadn’t heard that she had died. Yet less than thirty years ago, the whole street would have known within less than an hour of her death. Neighbours would have been out on the street talking, going to the house of the deceased offering help. The whole ritual surrounding death has changed. Now there are professional bearers to carry the coffin; years ago you would make your last journey to the grave on the shoulders of neighbours and friends.

I’m getting morbid, grumpy and farting. I’m going to bed.

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