Saturday, June 17, 2006

Weekend Shopping Insanity

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.

7 comments:

Anomie-Atlanta said...

You would enjoy reading affluenza. Also, props for recognizing the greatness of Pattern Recognition. If only there really was a FFF.

Gordon Hackman said...

anomie-atlanta,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'll check out Afluenza. I think I've heard of it before.

Pattern Recognition is truly a great piece of writing. One of the best contemporary novels I've read in the past couple of years, and far and away the best thing I've read by Gibson (I've also read Nueromancer, All Tomorrow's Parties, and many of the short stories).

Peace,
Gordon

Andy T. said...

Gordon,

I don't know if I have mentioned the novel "The Sparrow" to you before, but I would highly recommend reading it. I am about half-way through it right now. I won't give myself the chance to give anything away, so read about it when you get a chance.

Gordon Hackman said...

Andy,

It's funny but I was just talking to Angela Walker, Beth Currier, and Jennifer Ould this past weekend, and they have all read or are currently reading "The Sparrow" or its sequel "Children of God," and they were all telling me I should read it. Thanks for adding yet another voice to the chorus of encouragement. Angela was actually chastising me a little since I love sci-fi and haven't read them yet. I'm going to get them this week and try to start reading them shortly.

Peace,
Gordon

Andy said...

Gordon,

My apologies for being a little slow in writing on your blog. Good to hear that Walker et al. are recommending the book. I just got an email from Currier telling me that she has been having some good conversations with you. I want to see some of the fruit of those conversations on your blog--even if it does end up being about Hebrew (my attempt to pick on Currier). Talk to you later Gordon,

Andy

Gordon Hackman said...

Andy,

Thanks for stopping by again. sorry I haven't responded for several days. I've been busy and unmotivated to write much of anything. Yeah, Beth and I have been having some good conversations. I'll try to get something up here about the what we've been talking about. I'm still processing a lot of it right now.

Peace,
Gordon

Andy said...

Sounds good. I look forward to reading what your thinking through. Did you have a good 4th of July? Patriotism is a funny thing. I was hoping McKnight would put something up on his blog about Christianity and American patriotism on the 4th of July--no such luck. I was in Tennessee (just outside of Knoxville) and heard an interesting sermon; It made me want to reread "The Search for Christian America" by Mark Noll et al.

Anyway, I'll talk to you later Gordon.

Andy