A thought I’ve caught myself having quite often these days concerns Things.
I look at my shelves and see hundreds of items, the overwhelming majority of which are books: art, how to art, “art of,” language dictionaries, cultural explorations, memoirs, how to write, grammar guides, philosophy, religion (one’s mythology is another’s religion, I say), history, fiction, Japanese manga, graphic novels, comic book trade collections, science fiction, and fantasy. Oh, so much fantasy. Those were the worlds I escaped to when life became hell, and I escaped a lot. Still do. Would that I could actually escape to one of the worlds I read about, as in Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart A Doorway, the book I needed when I was younger.
But I digress. Sort of. The aforementioned thought has to do with the ultimate, permanent escape, the one we’re all guaranteed to have as a consequence of life.
I’m on a few mailing lists, a couple of which involve some really neat science, tech, and geeky items. Every time I see an item that appeals to one or more of my interests, my brain leaps at it with figurative grabby hands outstretched. Immediately afterwards, my gut quashes the desire with melancholy: not only can I usually not afford the item — living under the poverty line is a hundred kinds of ass — but I also know that, in the end, it’ll just be junk after I’m dead.
Junk. Trash. Garbage. Unwanted, unpleasant mementos of the one who owned them.
I realise that capitalism depends on the desire to have those cool Things, whether they signify long-lasting interests or passing fads. Capitalism also depends on a person’s disposable income, which, of course, I largely lack. As a result, I’m extremely picky about what non-survival items I do spend money on, and being divorced from TV Land in general means that the neverending pied piper tune of BUY BUY BUY rings hollow and shallow in my ears. You can’t take it with you, as the saying goes.
Is it even worth acquiring anything at all if it’s just going to end up in the landfill?
No. No, it isn’t. Not to me and my already shortened lifespan, anyway.