But what they meant was that I have an affinity for the old tools of civilized life. I'm anachronistic, maybe. These objects, like stationery and tobacco pipes, are signifiers of class, connoisseurship, and refinement. (But why?)
Here are some of the things I surround myself with and take pride in. Many are just old, like my house. Or they're for older people, because the siblings I looked up to were older than I. These are the elements of my personal style.
* My watch, issued to a Marine during the Korean War.
* Bourbon, scotch, and wine: acquired tastes all, they reward connoisseurs.
* Quality minimalist stationery, for when only a written letter will do. I use Crane's, with a fleur-de-lis pattern lining the envelopes.
* A stereo. A real one, with two speakers and not five, pointed directly at a chair.
* Pipe tobacco, for when I really want to poison myself. If you've never done it, you wouldn't believe how complicated pipe smoking is. Those guys in movies always look tranquil, almost immobile - I don't know how they do it. Editing, I guess. Maybe I just like keeping my hands busy while I'm drinking scotch and listening to music.
* Wool coats. Puffy vinyl shells full of fiberglass might keep you warm, but they make you look like Neil Armstrong. Not Lance Armstrong.
* Eyeglasses - not contact lenses. It's not that I'm not vain; oh, I am. I just want to look smart.
* My wok and cast iron frypan. I've had both for 20 years. They are utterly utilitarian manual tools for sustenance. No electronics, no nonstick coatings, no obsolescence.
* Calling cards, for a more personal touch than your business card can give. Mine has this blog's address on the front.
What's the unifying theme here? Is each of these things just a technology that's one step behind current? Are they old because they require effort and upkeep? Does that make them more contemplative? Or am I just being anticonformist? Is it inherently more elegant to tell time by an analog watch rather than a cell phone? Does the fact that it's a watch matter at all - or is the medium the message?