Written by Sandee Setliff – I’d like to think I’m one of those people who don’t take things for granted. I try on a regular basis to appreciate all the material things I have. Sometimes I realize how much I do take things for granted; like when the electricity goes out. You know you are spoiled when you jump into your SUV to find a Starbucks location that has electricity so that you can sip your Oreo Frappuccino in the air conditioning comfort while booting up your laptop to go shopping online.
I could stay home but I would end up wandering around thinking, what can I do? No TV to watch, no lights to see by, no (gasp) internet and NO AIR CONDITIONING! Yikes!! And, oh my gosh, what will happen to all the food in the refrigerator!! Do you find yourself automatically reaching for the light switch when you enter a dark room? Or go look at the clock and have to say “duh”, no electricity dummy! I know I do.
The reason I bring this up is because it was H.O.T. when we went out to sketch at the Historic Johnson Farm the other day. I mean sweltering, where the heck is the shade? Hot! We schlepped our art supplies, lawn chairs and snacks from the car around to the farm house all the while exclaiming about the heat, and that maybe this wasn’t the best day to have ventured outside after all.
We found a perfect shady spot to set up our chairs and supplies. One which lent us a view of both the Johnson Farm and the smokehouse. My friend chose the quaint facade of the farm house to draw, while I sketched Etta Presley’s summer residence that was attached to the side of the smokehouse building. She was their summer housekeeper and cook, and I couldn’t help but think of the living conditions during that time back in the 1920’s. I sat there and tried to think of all the inventions that we have and of course, air conditioning was the first one that popped up in my head. Did I mention that is was hot?
But we have had so many things to appreciate it’s hard to name them all. In the true spirit of being frivolous and light minded, let me mention a few: 1924 – the cheeseburger, 1928 – the recliner, 1931 – the bug zapper, 1937 – the shopping cart, 1945 – the microwave oven, 1948 – cable television, 1956 – the lint roller, 1964 – 8-track cartridge, 1965 – the cordless telephone, 1967 the hand held calculator, 1971 – the personal computer, 1973 – the mobile phone, 1975- the digital camera, 1983 – the internet, 1990 – the world wide web…to name a few.
In the 1930s, the air conditioner sure was a lollapalooza of an invention and one that today I am reminded to be grateful for. As I drove away with the air blasting so loud that it drummed out the sound of the music in my car, I couldn’t help but feel how grateful I am to be living in this day and age. I am also getting old enough to wonder what the G.I. Generation (1900-1924) would think of Generation Z (1995-present), also known as the iGeneration, where everything is possible and the main communication channel is the internet.
Maybe the G.I. Generation would overlook our pampered ways, order a cheeseburger and jump on the air conditioned band wagon.
Sandee Setliff is a contemporary mixed media artist and art journalist, enjoying her journey into writing. Her art work can be viewed year round at the Art Mob Studio and she teaches Art Journaling classes at the Henderson County Parks and Recreation Athletics and Activity Center in Hendersonville.