The Deafening Silence
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 9:04 AM [+]
I am sometimes privy to some insightful conversations that are quite unexpected and perhaps only discerned as such by someone as crazy as me. But recently a couple of acquaintances of mine were lamenting about not having any money...something with which I am more than a little familiar. But the same conversation "ended" with an announcement of intent to go out to dinner and then picking up a couple of decidedly unnecessary consumer products. Hmmm...see when I am "out of money", going out to dinner doesn't happen and buying some "toys" certainly doesn't happen.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am no grand master of fiscal responsibility. In fact I'm horrible at it, but I certainly DO KNOW what it means to not have any money. It's that end of the month time when we hunker and down and REALLY live off of the land. In truth, we start living the way we COULD live through the entire month and then we would have money for little things like, oh...ummm....EMERGENCIES.
Conversations often weave around the need for two incomes in the home and the cost of daycare and the price of milk and then it descends to the exorbitant amount of cash required to have a flat panel TV, or 178 channels of satellite TV, an 8GB download speed internet connection, the newest video game console, and then the new(er) car payment, the boat payment, the motorcycle payment, etc etc. In the end, is it any wonder how we play ourselves into the need to work like mad and then when we do work like mad, ironically, we find ourselves either eating out or utilizing expensive and unhealthy processed foods...but what choice do we have? Have you seen the frightening foods being marketed to us for the speed and ease of preparation? Like making a box of Mac n' Cheese was a long process to begin with that we should now need "instant" Microwavable kid's portions packs of it?
I wondered aloud if the reason why we live this way and our parents or grandparents didn't was perhaps because we had a higher expectation level for our affluence. All agreed and I then asked: "What can we do about it?" Utter silence.
My co-conversationalists' silence is less interesting to me than my own. We have made numerous life decisions that are supposed to overturn the wild suburban ride we'd been on before and yet we have left much undone yet. The acquisition of toys and generally just spending money we do not have (keeping up with Jones' - as if we can even see the Jones' toys??!?! - in some cases, but in others just being luxurious with food) we find ourselves in the same web of TRULY not having money...even though we continue to manage to function on one generally humble salary.
I have to stop and ask, if we lived all the time as we do when we are TRULY out of money, then perhaps the stress of worrying about money would be gone? Yes, I have no doubt, our drunkenness with toys and affluence is killing us, not only as individuals and families, but as a society as well. Getting out of suburbia is fulfilling a dream for us, but part of that dream ought to include the suburban materialistic trappings as well.
The deafening silence isn't in reference to the conversation, it is in reference to me not doing anything.