Friday, November 19, 2004

The Price of Admission

It's Not the High Cost of Living...It's the Cost of Living High.
No, no. Not that kind of high.
You may have read that we bought a mini-van. Well, one day last week I was talking to some neighbors about missing a neighborhood party the same day we took delivery of the van. I was sick and had lost my voice. I was telling them how frustrating it was to not be able to appropriately voice my frustration about the vehicle not being ready after we signed the papers, and we ended up waiting and waiting and waiting with both kids and no car as we had just signed over our Explorer. More on that later. One of the ladies asks, "Oh what did you get? The Volvo?" Apparently, the XC90 is becoming the vehicle of choice for the well-to-do stay-at-home moms in the hood. I replied that there are already too many of those in our neighborhood, that we needed more room than the XC90 offered, and that my tree-hugging background just wouldn't allow me to buy a smaller vehicle that ate more fuel. I just found it funny that she made the assumption that we had bought the status sled.

In a related story, I was at the mall one day. I found myself in Nordstrom buying shoes for LuLu at the annual Women and Childrens Sale. This very-well dressed customer ended up helping me match some shoes to an outfit I had previously purchased at Janie and Jack. After we had found something adorable and were coincidently paying at the same time, she turns to me and says, "I noticed that you had a Janie and Jack bag. Is that boutique in the mall?" I told her yes and that I had gone a bit overboard and that most of it was probably going back. I further told her that it was a shame that their sizing stopped at 4T and that I couldn't shop for my son there any more. She says, "I just hate when they outgrow the boutiques." She must have used the word "boutique" about 5 times in our brief conversation. It struck me odd, as if she could only shop in a store exclusive enough to be called a boutique.

These experiences underscore this epidemic of affluenza running rampant across our society. I, too, fall prey to the ever-present marketing and merchandising that bombards our daily experience, but I try to temper it somewhat by putting on the brakes when I can. I often remind myself of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Koy Detmer who does the bulk of his wardrobe shopping at Target and rapper/actor Ice Cube's passion for bulk shopping. And then there are the words of singer/songwriter Jack Johnson:

         Look at all those fancy clothes,
But these could keep us warm just like those.
And what about your soul? Is it cold?
Is it straight from the mold, and ready to be sold?

And cars and phones and diamond rings,
Bling, bling, because those are only removable things.
And what about your mind? Does it shine?
Are there things that concern you, more than your time?

Gone, the wind.
Gone, everything.
Gone, don’t give a damn.
Gone, be the birds, when they don’t wanna sing.
Gone, people, all awkward with their things,

Look at you, out to make a deal.
You try to be appealing, but you lose your appeal.
And what about those shoes you’re in today?
They’ll do no good, on the bridges you burnt along the way.

Are you willing to sell, anything?
Gone, with your head.
Leave your footprints,
And we’ll shame them with our words.
Gone, people, all careful and consumed.

Gone, gone, gone, everything.
Gone, don’t give a damn.
Gone, be the birds, when they don’t wanna sing.
Gone, people, all awkward with their things, Gone.

Just something I think about.

No comments: