It’s the night before Thanksgiving. I’m at my boyfriend’s house wasting time on the Internets. My apartment a quick 8 miles north is a bastion of lo-tech-ness. No web. No TV channels. No dishwasher, washer-dryer set, no nice computer. Here, though, it’s like the Sharper Image. A computer mouse that tracks properly, speakers that don’t blow out when you turn the base up, clean dishes, a vacuum that does more than just push the cracker crumbs and snarls of hair around in a loose circle.
All these gadgets just hum away quietly. It’s great, actually. That whole “better living through science” promise made startlingly good.
But an evening in with Mr. TV has brought some sort of discomfiting realizations to the fore. It’s mainly the commercials that are making me feel nutty. There’s all sorts of chatter about Black Friday shopping sales. Angora sweaters and $200 laptops and shitty plastic kiddie toys, all for piss cheap. Like, really cheap. $5. $10. $1.
Most of the stores are opting to begin the shopping festivities at midnight tomorrow evening instead of the usual early-morning Friday business. Walmart is even offering a pre-pre-shopping sale for customers to hit up while they’re waiting for the 5 a.m. deal to get going. The whole thing is completely batty.
I’ve sort of resolved that I don’t want to buy a single present this Christmas. For anyone. Outrageously selfish? Yeah, probably. But in my own defense, I don’t really entertain any desire to be the recipient of a single present, either. No one has the spare cash to get me any of the things I really want anyway, such as a non-embarrassing car stereo system or an iPod that isn’t a 5-year-old hand-me-down from my mom. And I’m fairly sure that none of my friends or family really want any of the cheap crap that my budget would allow me to purchase them. So why bother?
Sometimes, dropping out is surprisingly easy. You just wake up one day and stop giving a shit anymore. I don’t have much. But not wanting much is a remarkably effective fixative for that particular problem. Who knew?