Shop till you drop....
They were telling us in great detail of the damage done to their things by others. It was as if a minor war had happened in the cosy rooms of their home; faces red, eyes animated, voices taught, they gave us details of every scratch and defilement. We felt for them, this was a huge issue in their lives, but we couldn't identify with their concern, not because it wasn't our stuff, but because it seemed so minor.
OK, these items were newish, had been bought with hard earned money, but what bothered us was that these things identified them. It was as if they were Saxon villagers whose few crops and livestock had been attacked by Vikings, infuriated, locked into telling us about the battle, they were blind to reason. These things weren't damaged and if they had been, they are rich, so would have the money to replace them. Yet they are not unique, people treasure what they have, and that's wonderful. If we were to hold on to items for longer the world would sigh with relief.
Contrast them with an attractive and wealthy woman who wears clothes for a decade or more ago. The T-shirt I've got on is 20 years old, OK, it looks worn, but that's what this woman and I love, old things have character. Recycle, reuse! There's great pleasure to be had in visiting charity shops.
Yet all over the world people are hooked on buying new, buying, buying new, new. This was thrown in our faces yesterday when we went to a shopping mall, a strange experience we try to avoid. Although it was the sort of sunny afternoon you'd wish to spend outside, the artificial concrete and glass space was packed. People milled about dinking milkshakes, eating burgers, the restaurants were doing a brisk trade.
Wanting a small treat, we had to line up for ten minutes to get a seat in a noodle place. Above us an atrium spilled sunlight across our table, it was almost as good as being upon a southern French pavement. The staff were cheerful, young, half from European countries and others local students earning extra cash. The food was excellent and an hour later, paying not too much for such a meal, we walked off to buy the discounted item we required.
Everywhere, in every shop, at every stall, people we doing the same. Perhaps they were window shopping, but judging by the number of bags being carried away, I think not. Why are we addicted to shopping? We are programmed to buy; for millions of years our ape and then human ancestors foraged in the bushland we inhabited, and so our brains enjoy seeking things. But it made me think - how much stuff do we need? Why do so few people question this rampant consumerism?
The item we bought yesterday ought to last more than ten years, for it replaced one which had done so and which only 'died' because on one of my bad days I broke it.
In those shops, clothes galore were being tried on and a plethora of electrical goods were being carried off to cars in the surrounding carparks, add to this the goods sold from all the other shops and you start to fear for the future of .the Planet This scene we witnessed is going on up and down the country and it is happening across Europe, the USA and in other countries too. Add all this activity together and, hey presto - Global WarNing!
It isn't easy to let go of the desire to hunt/shop, to possess things, but to save the future for our off-spring, we must get into the recycle, reuse mentality. And it's fun, and it helps charities, so plus, plus there. I don't need to say anymore, indeed a few weeks ago somebody I know told me I'm teaching them to suck eggs. OK, sorry to that grumpy person, but the message requires repeating and repeating in as many ways as possible because time really is short.
I'd better stop writing and complete the painting I'm doing to be auctioned at a charity do. I've also a community letter to write to stop our Parish Council disrupting people's lives. See you next week.