We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
By New England puritanical standards it feels sinful or weak to be as attached to possessions as I am. So be it, because I never claimed to be sinless. I never claimed to be entirely free of superficiality either. Appearances have an effect on me and on everybody.
Artifacts from my life and from my family and my ancestors give me pleasure and comfort. Much of it probably has minimal monetary value (for example, you have to pay people to take away brown furniture today, even mahogany furniture, because nobody wants it) but it has meaning to me with memories attached.
Maggie switched off the basement dehumidifier as she did every year and even that absence had struck her. She had mourned in the most personal way the silencing of the steady, faithful whir that used to thrum on the floorboards. What on earth was wrong with her? she had wondered. Would she spend the rest of her days grieving for every loss equally—a daughter-in-law, a baby, a cat, a machine that dries the air out?