Some are uniquely ours. Some aren’t. I share many of mine with Annie.

While I’m chasing down my clothes, she’s holding down the fort in Muncie, Indiana (voted America’s most American city). We bought it in March and shortly thereafter I left for Bangladesh because my underwear was made there.

On one hand buying a home is a very mature, sensible thing to do. On the other, the underwear thing is a bit weird.

Annie has painted the walls, planted flowers, and done many other things that I probably won’t know about until I return. As fort holder-downers go, I reckon she’s a keeper. But there’s one thing she couldn’t do: keep our air conditioner from dying. Now, I’ve only owned a house for four months, three of which I’ve been in Asia, but even I know that if there is one thing you don’t want dying it’s your central air conditioner/furnace.

Quests are foolish, it’s their nature. They seem even more foolish when you buy a house before leaving and, while gone, you have to plop down $8,000-$11,000 to replace dead appliances. Ouch!

Do you know how many pairs of underwear I could track down with 11-grand?

The important thing about a quest is that you believe in it. I do. And Annie does too. (At least she did until the air conditioner died. I’m afraid to ask now.) I setout with certain professional goals for this trip (get good material to write, write my first book, introduce readers to the people who make their clothes, etc.), but my personal ones were a bit unclear. What was I looking for other than stories?

When I visited Honduras where my t-shirt was made, I owned nothing. Now I have a home, a fridge, and a dead air conditioner. When I visit the workers in their homes, usually a single room, I think of our home. “8-girls live in this room that is smaller than the smallest of our 3 bedrooms. Only two people and a fat, lazy cat live in my big home.”

I found guilt.

This trip is about the way we live and the way they live. And why on earth is there such a difference?

I knew the world was imbalanced, but, you know, I never really knew it. Whose fault is it? Is it the factory’s, the worker’s, the brand’s, the consumer’s, the politician’s, etc.? I don’t think there is a right answer. It’s our world. It’s our problem. We share it.

It is important that we know about the lives of those who support our lifestyle. It is important that we appreciate what we have.

So my air conditioner died and I’m going to be even more in debt than I thought when I return home in two weeks. Poor me. Things could be worse, much worse.

A little guilt isn’t so bad.

I’m just not sure what to with it.

Add a comment
Kent says:

Good post Kelsey… It adds perspective to your quest.

Lynne says:

I’m surprised Annie hasn’t added a comment to this post. If she did I’m guessing it would take up a lot of space and contain a lot of emphatic punctuation. (?#@+!!…*&#!@!!#)

Miles says:

Wow. You may have just written the perfect introduction for your book. I love your sense of humor and timing. Keep it up!

Kelsey says:

Kent and Miles, Thanks for the encouragement. I’m about to become your “average” all-American consumer (not that there is anything wrong with that), as I start to live somewhat of a “normal” life. I didn’t think that my life and this time of my life would have much to do with my quest. But it does. I don’t think there is a better time for me to be doing what I’m doing. I really appreciate you guys following along.

Lynne, Annie doesn’t respond to any of the posts unless I threaten her. She doesn’t want anyone to know this, but I’ll say it anyhow: Annie can’t read or write. It’s sad really. I’m not sure how she gets through her day at work.

Trust me when I say that Annie will pay me back for being gone during this very hectic time. In fact, she already has. I’ll tell you about it in a future post.

Let your voice be heard!