I cracked yesterday.
I went to the price club and loathe going. At the end of the shop, I’ve a cart hauling about 500 lbs of merchandise; so heavy this cart needs to be hit dead on with a 50-yard sprint just to get the darn thing moving. Strategic parking is mandatory, a straight line from the exit. Maneuvering a cart that heavy would be like parallel parking an eighteen-wheeler with no power steering. I don’t have the upper arm strength to manage that nor do I want it.
The irony is I go to the price club because it lessens trips to the grocery store. I don’t like grocery stores either. The bright lights, white walls and white linoleum makes me think of other places that we really don’t want to associate with food. An ER? A surgery room? Let your mind wander and it won’t go to a happy place. I actually heard “I want to be sedated” by The Ramones once in a grocery store. How apropos.
I pine for the open markets shown on travel shows on PBS. I imagine the aromas, the bartering and the colors. I think, “Now that is living.” And, how cool is it to meet the person who baked the bread or sun dried the peppers? Imagine the knowledge they impart to their customers and the pride they take in their product.
Regardless, I’m still trying to reconcile what happened yesterday.
Television has never been front stage in the Golightly home. It is only on when we watch it. We don’t have cable and probably watch about five shows a week. To me, television is not an experience. It doesn’t need to be high definition or huge. I don’t need a home theater. I get more from a good read. Really, I do.
Again, yesterday I cracked.
I pushed my behemoth cart into the first section of le price club, electronics. Down the canyon of televisions I drove and in less than three minutes picked up a 19” flat screen LED television/DVD player and casually tossed it in my cart. It was $200 (40 times my Flinch Point) and weighed less than the box laundry detergent on my list. Just about a year ago it would have probably cost three times more.
In a trance I came home and hauled our 10, possibly 15-year-old television and DVD player to the thrift store. My oldest daughter was thrilled to have a new television but showed a deep concern in witnessing this from her mother. Karma did catch up with me for in my state, I forgot to remove the DVD in the old player and had to go back to the thrift. It’s fine to donate my items, but I don’t think it’s right to donate things that don’t belong to me like a DVD from the Denver Public Library.
Mr. Golightly saw the new television and told me it wasn’t big enough. So off he went to the canyon lands of electronics. Now we have a 36” giant. To me, that’s huge! I don’t like it. I am so sorry to have ever acted so impulsively for I know there is no turning back without family dissent. Guess I got what was coming. Now when in the room with the electronic beast, it’s all I see.
It's in a small, cozy little room in our 111 year home. With the old furniture and lamps mixed with funky curios it screams, "I don't belong here!"
Then there is this other part of me that struggles with what my daughter’s feel when they go over to the homes of their friends. Do they notice the hu-gantic televisions? Do they like them? The Wii? The Xbox? Does my frugality and want of a simple life embarrass them?
It’s frustrating. I know my daughter would hands down want to ride a real horse over a virtual. Given we live in downtown Denver and don’t have a stable out back, a virtual horse would be more convenient. But what would a virtual horse give her? Skills? Just some hollow un-experience?
I struggle almost daily with expanding technology and how the products on the market indicate our cultural priorities. What will my great grandchildren be doing or eating? Just how far can we push the limits of technology before we lose the things that once brought us satisfaction, pride and worthwhile skill?
Oh, I can’t wait to get my girls off to summer camp in the Adirondacks! For four weeks they will genuinely live in an honest moment and they won’t need a phone, text, television, computer, Ipod, GPS system or radio to do so. They want action? They play real games. Music? They sing. Navigate? Orienteering with a compass. Write? Use a pencil. Converse? Talk face to face.
In the meanwhile, we’ll watch movies on the electronic beast that now resides in our home.
I’m certain many people think I’m over reacting. I’ve been in homes where the television truly takes up half the room and the people on the TV are larger than life and they think it wonderful.
Have you ever cracked and then regretted it because there’s no going back? What do you think about the expanding technologies and what it’s doing to our children, our pocketbooks and our landfills? Yes, there are pros and cons. But are they in balance? I fear not. Does that make me sound like “grumpy old lady”?
I believe that 36" monster is the root of my new found craving for over-processed empty calories. Now hand over the Twizzlers and Dots. Supersize them please.