Saturday, April 20, 2024

Magic servants

If you didn't have electricity, or natural gas/oil, or gasoline, how many servants would you need to maintain your current lifestyle? (Setting aside things like e.g. air travel) There are lots of things that we don't have to do ourselves because our magic servants do it for us.
Cooking?Somebody needs to chop the firewood, and maybe cook for the others
Hot bath?Chop wood, heat water and bring the water to you
Washing clothes?Part time washer, maybe more to wash for the others. Hot water needed too
Driving?Somebody to maintain the carriage, take care of the horses, clean up
Internet?Somebody to run to the library to ask your questions
Warm in winter?More wood chopping, and you might a lot of it if your house is big. Also extra cleaning because of smoke residues
Cool in summer?Need a big house for tall rooms, big windows, which implies extra cleaning from critters and pollen getting in
Phone calls?Messengers
Water the lawn?Fetch lots of water from the well

At first it looks manageable--you don't need a full-time wood chopper in summer--but washing and cleaning time adds up, and since you're providing lodging for them you need more servant time to take care of the others. Maybe you and your neighbors could board horses in a single neighborhood facility and split the costs, but your current lifestyle presumes the convenience of instant use of a vehicle.

I'm guessing at least 3.


David Foster said...

See Owen Young's description of Laundry Day on the farm, in my Quillette article here:

james said...

Good examples.