IS A CULTURED LIFE WORTH PURSUING? (Spring Break Reading)

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Here is something I have been pondering of late:

Apparently, I do not belong amongst the ranks of cultured people. Recently, I saw this great list from a UK site and wanted to reflect on what they listed for being a cultured person. Here is the list. (The ensuing comments are all mine):

SO WHAT EXACTLY MAKES YOU CULTURED? THE LIST IN FULL

  1. Go to the theatre This one is tough. However, I have been to a few shows at the Arvada Center.
  2. Can recognize paintings/art Yes, and I did take one Art History class in college (almost flunked it but I got through).
  3. Visit local heritage sites Does the Louisville, CO Heritage/Miner’s Museum count? (Seriously, I have been to many of these in many different states.)
  4. Listen to classical music  Truthfully, not much.
  5. Go to the ballet  – Well, does the Nutcracker count from one Christmas, a long time ago?
  6. Know what wine goes with what  – Not at all. Didn’t even try since I don’t even like it.
  7. Don’t skip the news when it’s on TV  – Are you kidding? With people so crazy out there. Not going to do it, nope, nada.
  8. Watch documentaries  – Sometimes if they are interesting and are on BBC or Nat. Geo, or HBO.
  9. Can read music – Southern Expression: Used to could…. My son can so I’m set.
  10. Take an avid interest in politics  – Only local stuff anymore. Not interested in the crazies right now.
  11. Read daily newspapers  – I leave this one up to my senior neighbors.
  12. Take countryside walks – I grew up in the country so I did this for many years. Now there’s open space! Yeah, this is a good one!
  13. Read a book before bed – Avid reader, yes, yes, yes! (And before breakfast, during lunch and any other times….)
  14. Choose city breaks over beach holidays – Nope. I’ll take a vacation in Hawaii anytime over cities….
  15. Watch Question Time  – I’m sorry I don’t know what this means….  My kid questions me about everything. Does that count? —-OK I looked it up. It is a UK thing: http://www.parliament.uk › About Parliament › How Parliament works › Daily business Question Time is an opportunity for MPs and Members of the House of Lords to question government ministers about matters for which they are responsible. These questions are asked at the start of business in both chambers and are known as ‘oral questions‘. We may have something similar but I haven’t found it….
  16. Host dinner parties  – Only happens with other kid’s friends’ parents and very seldom.
  17. Know about cheese – I was allergic to dairy for so many years. Today I like cheddar and Swiss, does that count? (Don’t go to any fancy cheese shops, though, can’t afford it – we’re saving money for college.)
  18. Enjoy crosswords or Sudoku – Nope. Does Solitare count?
  19. Go to vintage markets – I left this up to people who live in Boulder.
  20. Know about cuts of meat – Meat good (grunting sounds).
  21. Watch tennis or cricket – rather have a bullet in my head…. Sorry….
  22. Read a book before the film comes out – Yes! This is definitely a good one. I do this a lot more than going to the movies. I usually wait for the DVD.
  23. Watch Antiques Road Show – Is this still on PBS? Never watched it.
  24. Own a library card – The whole family has one. We love our library!
  25. Watch films with subtitles – Nope.
  26. Visit farm shops – Farm Stands in the US. Love our local farmer’s market and the peach stands on the side of the road! So,Yes!
  27. Use chopsticks over a knife and fork – Tried it but when my Japanese Aikido Sensei broke a white kid’s pair at the restaurant and said to him, “You’re an American! Use a fork!” I’ve never picked one up again.
  28. Drink ‘proper’ coffee – not instant – Don’t even like coffee, so no….
  29. Know how to pronounce ‘quinoa’ – Yes I know how to pronounce it and even cooked and ate it. Didn’t like it, though. A bag of it is still sitting in the back of my pantry just in case some of the vegan people dine with us….
  30. Grow your own fruit and vegetables on an allotment – I grow my own vegetables in my back yard. We have a very short growing season so it is “hit or miss” with how much I get out of it. Lots of tasty tomatoes for sauce, though!
  31. Go to music festivals – I can’t say if I’ve ever been to one. Some of my sister’s friends went to Woodstock, does that count? We do go to a nice concert now and again.
  32. Collect music on vinyl – Oh good grief! Had it – didn’t keep it. Now it’s all digital and I can play it on my smart phone!
  33. Read Wikipedia articles – A most unreliable source although I do use it sometimes in researching an article.
  34. Only eat local produce – In the summer, yes, a beautiful bag of green beans, mushrooms, onions, etc., from the Farmer’s Market; sweet Olathe corn and beautiful Rocky Ford cantaloupes, but not in the winter. Can you honestly say you shop at Alfalfa’s or Whole Foods for everything? Have you seen the prices on this stuff?
  35. Get the conundrum on Countdown – Nope. Apparently it is a UK thing…. I don’t even like jeopardy, etc.
  36. Wear bow-ties or brooches – Nope. Bill Nye the Science guy wore a bow-tie. My grandma and primary school teachers work brooches.
  37. Get food from supermarket ‘finer’ ranges – Does this mean from Alfalfa’s or Whole Foods? Or the Private Select brand from Kroger. I can say yes to Kroger….
  38. Drink herbal tea – Nope. Hate it.
  39. Put on an accent to pronounce foreign words – I took French in High School but don’t pronounce anything in it. Too strange so I’m going to say “No (French pronunciation).”
  40. Avoid generic superstore furniture – OK, does IKEA count? I’m sorry but I order from Amazon and go to IKEA so that would be a no.

So I was able to answer true (or yes, or acknowledge that I did these things) 18 out of 40 on the list or 45%. But, in my defense, several of the questions were specifically British so I had to say, “No!”

These are the things that make me who I am:

-Writing fun and mysterious reads, not always erudite, but interesting and different

-Getting my hands dirty in the soil

-Working hard and loving it trying to understand all of the generations from Boomers to Millennials

-Reading the wrong stuff (according to the culture list)

-Being assertive with my point of view when I need to be, but respecting others and listening to theirs in a polite manner and hopefully having real discourse

-Worrying about the future

-And living out west with an independent spirit.

If these ideals do not qualify me to become a cultured person and as some people think, “High culture in America [and the UK] is in serious decline,” I’m okay with that. Still, it’s interesting to know what some people believe makes you cultured. Enjoy your life the way you live it and try to always do the right thing. Enough said.

______________________

If you’d like to read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3240407/Owning-library-card-watching-subtitled-films-skilled-use-chopsticks-traits-make-cultured.html#ixzz4bF1yTgdz Article written by Flora Drury, 09/18/15, published in Dailymail.com

The Cultured Life, and Why it is Worth Pursuing, Article written by Joseph Epstein, 3/20/2017. At http://www.weeklystandard.com/print/the-cultured-life/article/2007147

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