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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shunned Routine Maintenance

Do you have anything in your refrigerator that has gone bad? Why is it still there? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1096).

Why is due maintenance often a victim of negligence? It is more readily understood if maintenance is avoided because of cost. For example, putting on a new roof or replacing a marginally operating air conditioner are such examples. But what about those cases when the cost is negligible? Why do we put off maintenance then? 

Acquisition and disbursement is more properly seen as a cycle. My wife Kathy saw it this way. Whenever she would buy a new dress or blouse, she would recycle an old one giving it to a thrift store or a friend who might want it.

To my misfortune I tend to have the opposite behavior. Rather than recycling old shoes, for example, I just put them under the bed with the rest.

The basic problem for me is that I identify with the old shoes. To throw away a pair of my old shoes seems personal--kind of as if I were tossing out part of me. The polar opposite of this maintenance problem is when one does not identify enough with the object in question. A condition of outright estrangement and alienation can prevail. Often this takes on a negative snowballing character. Say, I have a car that is causing me some trouble. I might take an active dislike for the car and "punish" it by neglecting even routine service. I can be looking for a good excuse—a mechanical problem providing me a convenient tipping point—to get rid of the car entirely.

Like with my wife Kathy, it is preferable in these matters if emotion can be limited and objectivity allowed to take the upper hand.


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