Day 003 – July 25, 2011
(Please note that Disclaimer No. 1 is in full effect)
Working around the house, I had a notion that something was missing.
Given the universe of adjectives, when describing the people of the United States of America, among the choices that would be high on anyone’s list (along with creative, technological, and super-size) is efficient.
As a loyal member of the modern American cubicle farm for over sixteen years, I saw project after project be inaugurated (usually with a PowerPoint presentation) about how to make the office, the business, the project, or the process even more efficient. There are companies whose sole purpose is to be invited into an organization and come up with more efficient methods, which usually involves buzz-phrases like “do more with less”, “work smarter, not harder”, and “Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired”.
Studying efficiency is something the U S of A has been doing for nearly a century.
However, these studies and results do not appear to have travelled south of the Equator to the City of Kings.
The house we are living in appears to my architecturally untrained eye to be a middle-class home, but there is no space in the kitchen for a dishwasher. So, I stand here in the kitchen without a dishwasher and I wonder how much time is spent by the average Peruvian washing dishes by hand.
Our home also came equipped with that marvel of telecommunications known as the telephone (celebrating its 135th anniversary of interrupting family dinners), but this phone had a spiral cord that connected the part you talk into (common name: mouthpiece; scientific name: Oris impedimentum) with the base of the phone.
It’s a corded phone.
Therefore, when communicating on this device with the caller on the other end, you are confined to a six-foot circle. This means that, while on the phone, there is no ability to multi-task (i.e., do the dishes while talking, dust the furniture while talking, tweet while talking).
It’s almost as if the house has been designed for a culture that celebrates the ability to devote one’s energy to do one thing at a time and to do that thing well.