|A week ago it was Thanksgiving and I had a couple of days off from my Glendale job. Today I returned after being away for two weeks. I returned to the same old banality and stupidity.
These are the same stacks that Iíve worked for nearly three years now. The SAME stacks, over and over, and over and over, and over and over... and you get the idea. It was pretty tiring to return to the monotony of my job today. I felt like a weight had been lifted, only to be replaced this week.
Iím pretty broke theses days. Most days I carry just enough cash to fill my carís gasoline tank. Megan came over in the morning and then I was left to my own devices until work in the evening. I was hungry, but I didnít know what to eat. I needed to feel human, I needed to have a tasty meal. I figured that since I was going to San Marino to work I would go early, make a pit stop, and get a pastrami sandwich at The Hat (pictured below)
I donít have ďdisposableĒ money right now, so going out to eat isnít an option. I have to pick my spots. Like lately Iíve been getting the crispy tacos from Burger King because theyíre two for a buck. Having that huge pastrami sandwich with fries on the side helped me feel human again. Itís been hard to be on such austerity lately. But what can I do?* * * * * *
As stated before, Iím pretty poor right now. My bills are all neatly stacked to a point thatís high above my height. Iím pretty much spending every dime I make to pay off my bills, but really itís to keep paying interest on them. But whatever. This being the case, I didnít go out and do ďBlack FridayĒ last week. I let all the dummies that apparently have money to burn go out and trample each other.
I watched the ďnewsĒ Friday I was stuck by the stupidity of this whole ďBlack FridayĒ idea. The lure of buying shinny new things was quite strong. I admit that Iíve been lured into buying the shiniest item of the season, and even in my economic state I too had the notion of going to the mall and seeing what I could buy my: aunt, girlfriend, cousinís, friends. This despite knowing full well that I donít even have enough in my pocket right now to pay for gasoline tomorrow.
What we have here is a nice little racket of consumerism that weíve all bought into because we lead such empty lives. We are all so devoid of any real truth that we have transferred our self-worth to a bunch of inanimate objects that have no real value. To the point that we are no longer people, but consumers. You certainly watched the news and watched as people fell over themselves to get some stupid ďbargain.Ē This feeds into a cycle of consumerism. Because then next year someone will think, ďHey, I gotta sleep outside a store for days in order to get that whatever is hot this season electronic thing, because I have no life and because everyone else is doing it.Ē Of course stores encourage this. They even named this day ďBlack Friday.Ē The origins of which come from a ledger, where black ink is used when one is making a profit. Stores wait for us to get in a frenzy in order to make money for the year. The entire year is nothing, they might as well just shut down their stores, because now is when they make the big bucks. And we go on with this idea because we have been brainwashed into buying stuff we donít need and then handing it to someone who doesnít want it, or doesnít need it, or both. We have turned a show of gratitude and love into a reason to spend. The meaning of this season has been completely erased and taken over by companies that simply want to shove yet another useless item into your closet, while snatching your hard earned money. Money that should be saved, not spent on some dumb sweater, or clock radio.
Strangely enough, not having any money shows me what Iíve been blinded to all this time. This year I plan on making something special for my girlfriend. I love her, and I want to show her in a way that canít be bought in a store. Not just because I donít have the money, but because buying her a sweater or something like that wonít show her anything other than that I went to the store and bought her something.
I donít believe in God, but strangely enough I am very moved by the idea of Jesus. If you know anything about his story itís that he was all about understanding and love. The idea that we donít have to kill each other is at the heart of the idea of Jesus the savior. All this might sound strange coming from someone that just stated heís an atheist, but I think the story of Jesus i still one we can learn from. The hypocritical nature of the bible gives us a God that is on the one hand merciful, but on the other vengeful. The duality of Jesus never crosses onto the vengeful side, but rather onto the human side... the weaknesses of our character to resist evil. That is what we should be contemplating during this time of the year. Instead we stand in line outside a store ready to push our fellow humans onto the floor in order to get a $10 discount on something weíll throw away in a year. Merry Christmas indeed.* * * * * *
Last week, NPR ran a story about Billie Holiday, who is my favorite female singer. I love Billie Holiday because when she sings about heartache you KNOW that she lived it. Each break is emoted with absolute fidelity in her vocals; each emotion is fully rendered. The woman could flat out sing. There were many contemporary singers who had better pitch, stronger vocals and such. But there wasnít anyone that could interpret a song the way Billie could. Towards the end of her life her voice was shaky and had lost much of its smoothness, but had gained a heartbreaking quality that no one will ever match. She used that pain to phrase a song like no one ever had or ever will. The arch of her life was short and tragic. Yet she left a collection of music that still awes and inspires me.