Friday, September 7, 2012

Things We've Lived Without for a Year

We moved here with a small, drab wardrobe and two Kindles (key to a happy marriage is two eBook readers), and while we've amassed a few textbooks and loads of paperwork, we've lived much more minimally than you'd expect from two Americans.

Here are the more impressive things we have managed to do without:

Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle. Has little to do with this blog,
but isn't it pretty here?
It's amazing how many people assume we have a car here. It's also amazing how uninterested we are in buying a car when we move home. We'll probably give in and get one, but I definitely don't see why we would need two. To be honest, I rarely drove back in Louisville. When I did, it was because I had a ton of gear to haul to a gig, or I was going out to a late-night show, long after public transportation hours ended.

True, Edinburgh is an easy city to navigate without a car -- much easier than Louisville. But it's funny to think that the nearest grocery store is exactly the same distance that Kroger was from our Louisville home. We wouldn't even consider driving to the grocery here, but every time we walked to Kroger, we thought we were being sooooo green.

Paper Towels/ Paper Napkins
How about that for saving some trees? From what I've seen, people over here generally do NOT use napkins at meal times in their home. Somehow they manage to eat without slopping food all over the place. It turns out that you don't need napkins. If you can't get past a home-cooked meal without a napkin, guess what? You can use a cloth napkin or "tea towel." We've got about ten of them. They stay clean a lot longer than you'd think, if you don't eat like an American slob. As for needing paper towels to clean? Well, you don't actually. Cloth works fine -- even better, I'd say.

You're doubtful. I challenge you to live a week without using a single paper towel or napkin. Or at least ask yourself if you really need it before you automatically wipe up a spill with a pile of paper towels.

Our first flat didn't have a television, and we didn't miss it. Our current flat has a swanky flat-screen. The only time we turned it on was for the Olympics, which we could just as easily have watched online. To be fair, we weren't really TV junkies before (at least I wasn't). That's not to be an ass and say, "I don't watch TV," haughtily. It's just that I used to work in television, and that made me lose interest. It reminds me of deadlines and Nielson ratings -- stress I don't need.

Without the television on to suck up our time, we've gone on loads of walks, played cards, enjoyed long meals, and talked to each other. David managed to read at least fifty books for pleasure in the past year, not counting all those horrible textbooks and the 130-something sources he had for his dissertation, all the while getting an MBA.

Okay, enough bragging on David. Really, this post was originally going to be all about how to live a year without paper towels, so try out that challenge ... at least for a week. You'll be surprised.


  1. A week without paper towels I might be able to do. If I'm lucky. But a year? Pretty sure the pets will have some sort of accident over the course of a year. But definitely love the idea of tea towels for cooking and dining mishaps.

    1. True about pets! Maybe they need their own set of cloth:) I read somewhere about people drying paper towels and re-using them later, especially immigrants in America -- here's a funny thing I read about Jackie Chan, who re-uses paper products like that. I read an article a couple of years ago about him doing this, but just found this on a google search now:

  2. We have actually gone almost a year without using paper towels (for the most part, except for the occasional party, etc. I really love not having them. It's quite freeing.