29 November 2010

To keep us trapped in greed

So, why exactly am I supposed to want to watch TV on the subway that is not my living room? Not that Southern California has anything that resembles public transportation.

And why do I need hundreds of apps? Endless games? Stuff, stuff and more stuff?

Is it any wonder that zombies--the ultimate consumers--are reigning supreme in the media these days?

I have no intention of being at world's beck and call, ever. So, sorry if my phone doesn't pick up my email. Or if I decline to post via the mobile capabilities. I have a very nice 7-year-old iPod that plays music when I'm walking; I don't really desire an upgrade. "Rule the air," my cell phone provider intones. Um, no, thank you. And honestly? I'm not interested in anyone who thinks s/he should rule the air. Spend 30 seconds on Twitter and it's brutally clear that very few people have much to say. Don't think I exempt myself from that criticism, which is why I don't advertise this little corner of the web.

Over the holiday, a relative tried to sell me on the merits of, variously, the iPad, the iPhone, and one of those book readers. I declined all of them, as did my offspring. I don't want more stuff. Why would I want to be tied to stuff? Stuff does not weed the garden. Stuff does not make me happy. Stuff does not provide the moonrise or the Northern lights. Stuff does not cook dinner. Stuff does not improve my life. And I feel greedy because I'm planning to buy myself another camera lens, something I actually want and will use.

"I don't really want anything material for Christmas," the daughter said recently, her voice slightly fraught. The son agreed.

"I'd rather focus on the experience anyway," I told them. "I'd rather make cookies with you guys and then eat them in front of the fireplace."

What do my children remember about the Christmases of their lives? Not what they got, but what we did. That they get to eat See's candy for breakfast. That I cook them a Victorian feast. That we listen to Patrick Stewart's A Christmas Carol and "that old CD of Christmas songs." That sometimes Grandma and Grandad spend the night, and then it's really crazy fun. That we stick ribbons on the cat and watch him run around. That the cat pulls down the tree. That the dog always knew where her present was.

Of course there will be some gifts. The daughter covets a particular cardigan; the son would like some (real) books. The spouse is demanding Rock Band 3 (hours of fun for the whole family, believe me). I will defer Christmas for myself until I can go off and have an adventure (and possibly a new camera lens). We will do right by others who otherwise wouldn't be celebrating.

So, I won't be buying a lot of cheap Chinese garbage this year to satisfy the demands of my own government. I've never been a profligate spender and I don't intend to start now in order to support some Federal Reserve fantasy. I don't watch much TV anyway, and I'm sure as heck not going to start watching it on my stupid phone. I have a life, and I rather enjoy living it.

There's no app for that.

Go listen to some good music: "Uprising" by Muse from the album The Resistance. Yup, I'm all over the map tonight. Truth is I don't actually care how others spend their time or money; I'm nice like that! Whatever floats your boat. What I object to is that so many people I know and the great gods of advertising are constantly trying to convince me that I should want to spend my time and money the same way. I know exactly what I want, thank you, and it has nothing to do with electronics or badly made clothing or useless gadgets. [holiday rant] end [/holiday rant]

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