I’ve been grinding my coffee by hand for the last few weeks. It’s inconvenient. It takes at least five times as long as using an electric grinder. It saves almost no energy from the grid. But there’s something about the process that makes me slow down. I feel the beans crunching as I spin the handle on the grinder around. The smell is overwhelmingly good. It’s meditative. Sometimes I count the turns so that I know about how much coffee I’ve ground and sometimes I just stare out the window day dreaming while I grind away. And I swear that there’s something about my coffee that seems to taste better.
Sometimes I get the feeling that many facets of our lives have become too convenient. The simplicity provided by modern technology often removes us so far from the actual creation and production of things that we use that we completely forget what goes into the processes.
We don’t see the resources being extracted or the labour involved in gathering or processing.
We don’t see the animals being slaughtered or the conditions that in which they live in the agricultural industrial complex.
We don’t see the millions of miles that goods travel using cheap fuel as an energy source, or the absence of those goods once they’ve been removed from their natural environments and communities.
Hiding those steps from consumers means that we simply forget that they exist. I suppose it’s an effect of late stage capitalism where we demand cheap products without even knowing what the cost is that went into them, products that are made and sold to provide us the conveniences of life.
I hope that undoing this blindness is part of the slow work movement where we get to reconnect with the processes and resources that bring us sustenance. I hope that we can undo some of the propaganda from post-war America where convenience was the ultimate luxury; microwave dinners and dishwashers but also the mechanization of the assembly line. I hope that slow work centers around events like home grown food but also handcrafted goods. These processes are definitely more inconvenient but also help us to connect with the real cost of production of goods.