When something I own breaks, I often scour the Internet to see if I can locate another one for sale, or at least the broken part. When I find it, it’s often labeled vintage.
Huh? Vintage? Didn’t I just buy the thing? Well, maybe a few years ago, when I bought my house in Halifax. Then I realize that was 36 years ago. So OK. Maybe the washer or the heater or whatever is a tad elderly.
And then I realize that I, too, am probably vintage. It does sound a little cheerier than old.
Recently, I was conversing with the little voices in my head that keep me on track. I had just had trouble lifting a very heavy package (10 pounds). I didn’t use to think 10 pounds was heavy. When I first started keeping sheep, grain came only in 100-pound sacks, and I had to get help lifting them. Then they started selling sheep grain in 50-pound sacks, and I was thrilled. I could now lift them into the grain bin by myself.
Now I can’t lift the 50-pound sacks and have to open them and spoon the grain into smaller sacks, preferably under 20 pounds.
They make everything heavier than they used to, it seems, just as my pasture is getting steeper every year, something they never explained in geography class. Of course, another possibility is that I’m getting old. When that thought occurred to me, the little voice in my head said, “No, you’re not getting old.” That was comforting. I began to relax.
Then it continued, “You are old.”
OK, OK. But isn’t it nicer to say I’m vintage? I think so.
What is vintage? Expert etymologist Dr. Google says vintage is “of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality: classic.” I like the “enduring interest” part.
There are a lot of us vintagers or vintagettes out there, many of us ignored by trendy media, and I thought it might be interesting to write about life from the vintage point of view. So many things that seemed so important when I was younger seem so trivial now, and things I never thought of at all seem important.
When you’re a youngster of 50, you don’t worry a lot about what you would do if you couldn’t drive. How would you get over to Aunt Matilda’s to partake of her horrid cooking?
We vintagers have to think of things like that.
We don’t think a lot about fashion. Come to think of it, I never did. Living in the boonies means I mostly choose the jeans that have the fewest holes, although I realize having holes in your jeans has become fashionable. Then I add a jersey I bought at the Salvation Army, and in winter a thick sweater and a sweatshirt that has a lot of food stains, and I’m good to go. If I need to dress up, I choose a sweatshirt with fewer food stains. Never hurts to make a good impression.
Luckily, I’ve been working at home for the past 40 years, first copy-editing science books that were sent to me via FedEx, and later books that came online. If I had to work in an office, I’d probably spend more time at the Salvation Army getting outfits.
I also don’t worry much about having a spotless house. I once had a houseguest and mentioned I wasn’t very interested in having a tidy, spotless house, and she said, “I can see that.”
We vintagers also don’t think a lot about staying slim so we can get dates. If it tastes good, why not eat it?
After all, we might drop dead tomorrow, so why not go out happy?
I find it’s interesting to be vintage, even if it’s sometimes difficult, and in this column I hope to be able to address some of the benefits as well as drawbacks of being a vintage person.