Thursday, February 12, 2009

Affluenza and the Economy Bubble

I'm exhausted.

I got caught up.

I believed the bullshit and the hype.

I'm a sucker.

Like most everyone I know, my student loan debt from a ridiculous educational overload I did not need, approaches the national deficit. (my ex, who never went to college except to take a philosophy class with me, makes as much as me without a degree, on pure talent) In order to run up said debt, I numbed, drowned out, murdered, and chloroformed the person I was, into the person I thought I should be. Whoa. Big mistake. Most of us did it.

Then, we bought shit. And piled it in houses we were "proud" of. We needed specific clothes and specific cars, and boats and toys and decor. Sheets with a high thread count. Wine that costs more than $18 bucks a bottle. Porch furniture and fashionable landscaping. The newest electronics and muzak. A six hundred dollar purse. A seventy five dollar keychain. Two thousand dollar bicycles. Stainless steel appliances. Handmade dishes, and glasses, and vases. Marble countertops. Antique accents.

And this made things work. For awhile. And we were all rich. For awhile. And suddenly we're at the end of our ropes. The gigantic cars that GM cannot sell are being given away as severance pay. So many people opted out of blue collar work that it's all contributing to Mexico's GNP now. India OWNS our asses. America's FICO score is somewhere in the 300's. The US bankruptcy code had to be reworked in order to slow down the filings. Banks were kept running on monies from CHINA. Colleges ridded themselves of excellent professors. THERE IS NOONE TO BLAME BUT OURSELVES.

And I'm glad. The pursuit of property was fucking killing me. The naming of success as "stuff" made me nauseous (though for some masochistic reason, I half heartedly participated). Watching my small son become brand conscious was the worst.

And now I say, "What's wrong with one income families? With one car and one television? With hand-me-downs and knee patches? With gardens and sharing? With bird watching instead of television watching?" What's wrong with re-use, thrift shopping, upcycling and recycling? WHY WERE (are?) WE SO ASHAMED?

I really hope that we all "need" less. I hope this depression gives us all permission to want less. (Considering that we "need" more than 90% of the Earth's population.) I really hope we begin to judge one another on beauty and merit and creativity and generosity rather than ownership and "power."

I want to entertain you with homemade wine, garden veggies, and good conversation while wearing a dress I made from cut up T-shirts (I already have the dress; the veggies will come this summer; a neighbor offered to teach me dandelion wine making this spring). I want to let go of the pursuit of property. Let the bubble burst. We're all better off. We won't let one another starve. And maybe we can let go of "stuff" in the process.

Interesting things:

Your Money or Your Life
The Story of Stuff

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