Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

the tyranny/ loveliness of having stuff


I haven't done much cooking lately, mostly just fajitas (chicken ones, fish ones, and ones with just the vegetables) because moving house takes quite a lot of your time and energy for quite a few weeks, if you insist on having everything perfect like me and going through each individual book and replacing each ugly plastic thing from last time round with just the right yet also bargain better version, which means also spending a lot of time researching your shopping in order to get everything cheap. We did really well though, I found a really nice wardrobe a hundred years old (which is unusual in America) for fifty dollars, it just took a lot of small-ad research, a long drive out to the people who owned it, and then some more drives back and forth to hire a truck (Home Depot hires trucks for I think about one hour for about $19, which is very good) and all the time it took to do all this and the moving. Then multiply that lots of times, because similar work went into buying all sorts of other things.

Sometimes people sell things because they are moving, and you can tell that really they don't want to, they just think they have to. Every time I look at the nice pot-plant on the sideboard, I think of the chap who really should have just taken it with him to Boston- it's only a plant, he could have carried it on the plane, surely? I hate the way people accept unnecessary loss and distress as part of everyday life when all they need to do is make a bit more effort and hang onto the things they care about. Not just pot-plants, obviously- the good stuff they believe in. In my view it is morally imperative to be as cheerful as possible, and anything that makes your mouth curve down in dismay must be changed or conquered. If you really can't take the pot plant, come to terms with that. Sometimes, it is true, you really can't take the pot-plant.

On the other hand, I prefer people who move and grieve their pot-plant to people who refuse to move because they think they can't take their pot plant. It's just a pot plant. But stuff can be a great tyranny, which is why I wrote that post on the last blog called "Crap in the attic".

Today I am going to try and buy a large rug for the living-room floor. The floor is very old hard wood which needs some protection. There is an old half-price rug from Wal-mart down at the moment, which looks acceptable but there is something wrong with the colours. People seem to think that if they make sure rug colours are dingy enough, they will go with anything. The opposite is true, they just drain the life out of everything around them. Rugs should either be nice colours, or neutral. There are plenty of acceptable cheap neutral rugs in Home Depot, but I would rather have something more alive. Target has a bright orange one which looked good on their website, but in the flesh it is rather nasty. Large oriental rugs cost a fortune even at IKEA, so if there is nothing in the rug shop we are visiting today, the Wal-mart one will stay for the time being. Or I might end up making one myself from plaited bits of fabric, but that would take about a year, with the distinct risk of turning out bad in the end anyway.

Dilemmas, dilemmas. People tend to think it is "superficial" to concern oneself with such things, no doubt because their every waking second is filled with far loftier things, what they are I know not but I am sure they are most impressive and include voluntary work at the local soup-kitchen. I will probably be doing that too soon, though, because once the house is perfect it will be onto the next thing. I'm not changing anything else ever again, too much hard work.


At 11:17 AM, Blogger Linda said...

As if service and aesthetic pleasure are mutually exclusive. There's the puritan ethic for you, eh?

My take on it is that we have been given the gift of feeling joy in our senses, and it would be ungrateful to deny that. Materialism is another matter entirely of course... but as far as actively choosing something beautiful instead of settling for the ugly thing, it is an honoring of the Creator to do so. Nothing at all superficial about that.


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