I recently read somewhere that humankind was not used to working all year around. That’s right, it was the PBS special of the book Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond - yet another book on my ginormous reading list. Humankind was used to holing up and resting during winter time because the weather was too inhospitable for anything other than sitting by the warm fireside. Provided you had cut enough wood in the warmer months to sustain you. Yes, these days pre-dated electric, oil or gas heating systems, protective metal vehicles, and Gortex.
Now. Now, we have people like Barbara Lynch whom I saw on television last night. She already owns nine highly acclaimed restaurants in the Boston area. Last night’s show was reporting her work in creating yet one more highly acclaimed restaurant. Because, you know, nine isn’t enough. All this work, in the middle of winter. How does she do it? I mean, all I want to do is sit in front of my fireplace sipping tea and reading a good book.
Well, she had terrible circles under her eyes. And pockets of weight indicative of a woman without the time to hit the gym. Which is strange for a person in her socio-economic class – fitness is the post-modern equivalent of fat during the renaissance. It used to be, if you were rich, you were fat. Now if you are rich, you’re sculpted to within an eighth of an inch. As if yourself were as much a part of the perfection of a carefully designed living room as the water color artwork or the marble fireplace.
It seems the pendulum has swung in the complete opposite direction. Not only do we now work even in winter, but we overwork all year round – winter, spring, summer, and fall. Or at least, in Barbara Lynch’s and my case.
How did this happen?