- we watched the worthwhile documentary "i am" the other night & i heard the crisis summed up quite succinctly (have to paraphrase): we in the united states are not molded to be citizens in a representative democracy, but corporate consumers… we are not raised to be informed & to think critically, but to buy sh*t, to consume, consume, consume!…the ultimate pt was that we are mentally ill as a society, never finding happiness due to this (venal! oligarchic!) profit-driven cultural training. the problem beyond that? well, i don't want to give away the brilliant climax; watch the flick!
- a few wks ago, i saw a jonathan haidt segment on tedtalks that raised similar idea, that we are living in the profane realm of insatiable material desire, therefore in spiritual/emotional/even physical dismay & dissatisfaction, that is, until we can reach the sacred realm by not just finding a spiritual path, but finding it via connection w/others, by helping our fellows… i think of the big book, as i always do: "faith without works is dead."
- so this kinda segues into that i am a consumer, yes, tho i try to fight back & buy lots of stuff used & even just flat don't buy things, a lot of times, & i'm not quite ready for the show "extreme cheapskates," but i have learned a few tricks & tips from it, yessir… & this consumer goes to wal-mart, more than i wish, actually, & often w/that internal ping-pong going bc wal-mart doesn't allow a living wage & certainly not unionizing, & wal-mart murders local merchants & promotes cheaply-made generica, but then i used to sponsor someone whose husband from mexico was very grateful for his wal-mart job which kept the family off the street & allowed his family (limited) health coverage (i know, i know)… so it's always a struggle up here in this coconut, in short, & i'll bet in yours, too, cause so rare is it that a thing is self-evident & clear-cut... however, this part's simple: i DID take this pic w/my wal-mart (cheapa**, planned-obsolescent) phone tonight when i went walking in the downtown of this oc town hoping to find gifts, & you know what? it didn't cost me a cent to snap this pic, & moreover, i like the satisfaction of having made something cool from something cheap & rather crappy!
- but on another different point, try to find clever, unique gifts in this downtown: impossible! i was shocked to realize its shops are overwhelmingly expensive clothiers & fooderies. are people really into just that stuff? ridiculous! and once again, i haven't got a clue… james tells me the downtown here used to be funky & cool, but gentrification moved in, & once again, the almighty dollar ruined the character of a place! argh! gnash teeth… spit… retch…
- anyways, here's the picture… so although there's nothing i want to purchase in this downtown, there was this neat yuletidey light reflection on a wall w/full moon framed in background of which i got a shot, & i found a shiny penny on the ground, & james & i've had a few nice night time walks w/downtown as destination, tho we don't buy anything, never never, so there still are pleasures to be found not contingent upon purchase, i guess is the conclusion.
- after walking around, i went in the gym ($11 a month since 1994!) & to a hugely fun aerobics class called "total body conditioning" where you do a lot of bodyweight movements w/large muscle groups. last wk we did 128 squats! i felt like superman in a rm of supermans! yes, just love that kinda stuff. told james i would've done great in basic training, had i called the recruiter back when i was finishing high school, tho would've washed out in two seconds in all other areas of the military!!…. back to aerobics, i was forced to remember tho i jump & leap & squat like others half my age, my bones & muscles & tendons & the general machine, in fact, is so, so much older... i came down mid-burpie plyometrically, laughing! having a great time! wow, i'm really strong for being so old!, & was greeted by a CRUNCH in my neck. aw, crap… do you also hate when reality comes crashing down like that? anyways, if i'm still sore tomorrow, i'll have to go buy a heating pad, but that's certainly no extravagance… after that was a great meeting full of calm, gentle, wise, funny people. i've been told this program i'm additionally attending is grad school for the one i've been in for near-two decades. i like that analogy! i like grad school! i came home & had some soup & james & i split a bagel with delicious salty butter & now he's snoring & it's
time to hit the showers. so anyways, what do you say we see how long we can go w/o buying anything? just for experimentation's sake? or at least that we consider each purchase mightily before purchasing… why the heck not? all that crap will still be out there to buy once our resolve weakens or necessity strikes…