Today I went to several places in North Shore Suburban Chicago to do some shopping. Everywhere I went it was virtual insanity. Noisy, crowded spaces; crazy traffic; shopping center parking lots whose convoluted layouts seem designed to make the experience of maneuvering through them as chaotic and stressful as possible; long, neverending checkout lines; miles of ugly suburban sprawl and prefab storefronts. The whole experience was thoroughly unpleasant. I couldn't help but think that most of the other people out must feel this way too.
It really makes me wonder. Would most of us, if asked, say that shopping and acquiring material possessions are the good life? Would we say that those are the things that are most important to us, that life is made up of? I would have to guess no. And yet there we all were, thousands upon thousands of us out spending our day off from work wasting our time and money, and subjecting ourselves to completely unenjoyable circumstances. Is it just the fact that living in a major metropolitan area with a population of six million simply dictates this sort of thing as unavoidable? Is it that we all just happen to genuinely need these things and we all just happen to be out on a Saturday getting what we need? I wonder. If we all decided tomorrow to be content with what we already have and only to purchase things we needed, only occasionally buying something new for the pleasure of it, would our lives still be so full of all the chaos, crowds, long lines, and parking lots? I don't know, but I wonder.