Joel Achenbach speculates about the possibility of having an “18th Century Weekend.” Disavow all knowledge of portable music players, television sets, automobiles (hybrid or otherwise) and the wireless telegraph, and return the neighborhood to the days when Western Civilization first tried out the Enlightenment. Syphilis and smallpox are optional.
But in reality we’re not trying to recreate the past, much of which was, let us state clearly, a grinding horror. This is not a costume party. [Nor are we trying to create our own little Earthaven, though being more energy conscious would be a good outcome.] [Nor would this be like living in the pre-luxury-hotel version of Biosphere 2.] We’re just trying to find ways to connect, be a bit more local, and neighborly, and maybe have more face-to-face conversations, and get a little exercise walking to the coffee shop rather than burning gasoline.
Of course, perhaps the 18th Century is a bit too far away:
Simply turning the clock back to 1990 — and quitting email for a couple of days — would be liberating and revelatory. Maybe it should just be 1980s weekend, performed to the soundtrack of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Duran Duran.
Quitting email?! Say wha?
Actually, I prefer to make every weekend “Not-So-Distant-Future Weekend.” I read the news on my portable Universal Computation Device, and every time I meet a revolving door, I pretend that it’s really an airlock.