Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Do, or Do Not. There Is No Consume.

So I was all set to write a angsty-sad post about how my world seems to get smaller every day without a job... how I used to dream that I would do XYZ with my life, and then I dreamed about having enough money to take a yoga class, and now I'm just hoping I get paid enough to get a subscription to Fitness Magazine. (Actually, at $17.95 for eleven issues, I could probably afford it on my temp salary... except I don't yet have a permanent address.)

The thesis of my post was going to be something horrifically dreary, along the lines of "I used to dream about doing things... now I dream about consuming things."

Except -- Gaurav, take note! 'cause this post's addressed to you -- I realized that I'm still dreaming about doing things. Everything I dream about is still a doing.

Example: I spent last Sunday afternoon walking through Dupont Circle and going into every single shop, just to see what was there. I saw a lot of cute stuff, and a lot of weird stuff, and a lot of expensive stuff.

The one thing I saw that sticks in my memory was a gravy bowl shaped like a gray cat with black stripes. (The gravy did, of course, come out through the cat's mouth.) It was on a random shelf filled with random kitschy kitchenware, and I looked at it for a moment, because I like kitchenware and I like kitties.

But even while I looked at the gravy bowl, and admired its cuteness, I never really wanted it. What would I do with a cat-shaped gravy bowl? I had no real interest in picking the thing up and taking it home with me; I was simply appreciating it as an objet d'art.

Compare it to the things I actually want. Yoga class. Fitness Magazine. A set of 5 lb weights so I can tone my upper arms. Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking. An apartment with a decent kitchen. The chance to do open-mic night. The chance to volunteer for Barack Obama. The chance to meet people while volunteering or yoga-classing or open-micing.

About the only non-doing thing I want is clothing, which (I've already mentioned) is partially a tool to get me towards people, which will result in interactions/conversations/etc. which in itself is doing. (Also I want clothes because I want to look professional; which, right now, I don't.)

So, Gaurav. A month ago I argued that it was the desire for stimuli which prompts consumption. Now I'm arguing that it's the desire to do things that prompts us to buy products. Whether it's a Wii, a car, or a cat-shaped gravy bowl (which inspires us to host a dinner party), we buy because we need accessories to do.

Otherwise we're bound by what we can do for free, without accessories... which limits us to sitting in front of televisions (or sometimes laptops), or, as you and I both found out, taking long scenic walks to pass the time.

Am I right?


Kalyan said...

"The chance to meet people while volunteering or yoga-classing or open-micing."

You could try meetup.com...they call it "Get on the Internet to get off the Internet!". There are Yoga groups and Volunteer groups. I am pretty sure there are open-micing groups as well :).
I for one made dozens of friends from different countries/cultures at International groups.

Blue said...

Thanks for the link! I will check it out. ^__^