Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Cynic?


The news over Christmas is almost entirely comprised of stories about how busy it is at the mall. The tone of the pieces is a mixture of empathy with an "analysis" of what all this buying will do for the economy. The economy is usually portrayed as constantly near-death, and only the heroic efforts of consumers will save it from collapse. Not like an actual collapse, like a couple of years ago, but something...just go buy some stuff!!!

Interspersed with this were reports about the commemoration of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and it occured to me that the massive outpouring of generosity that happened back then was entirely a feature of the timing of the disaster. I mean, if it had happened outside of the buying/giving orgy of Christmas, it wouldn't have become what it did.

This disaster also gave rise to a spate of reporting on "donor" fatigue, that people had been giving and giving, and they just couldn't do it any more - their generosity was exhausted.

There is a self-congratulatory tone to all of it, and yet no one ever speaks of "buyer" fatigue, that people might be tired of going out and shopping. And yet, one only needs to spend 15 minutes in a mall before or after Christmas to see how unhappy people are, waiting in line to buy something that may or may not be less expensive. The sheer overwhelming obligatory nature of the time can be overwhelming.

So perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that people experienced donor fatigue - after all, people might have felt a kind of resentment, that the season of forced generosity actually contained within it a moment of genuine need.

Then the world opened up - an entire world of need! My God, all these godforsaken people! Back to shopping.

There is a dissonance there, and I do not know what the resolution is.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Strange Dream


Very strange, at least I think so. And kind of out of left field (All the best dreams are, aren't they?)

I spend hours begging and pleading the love of my life not to go away today. I have all kinds of reasons as to why she should stay, and I say them while she is packing, and we argue back and forth for what seems like an eternity. It seems hopeless.

She says she is going to leave, and that she's leaving forever. I do not know why, but I feel an intense need to stop her from leaving to a place that she is convinced is better for her, that I know is in fact better for her. I realise that I cannot convince her otherwise.

Then suddenly, she decides to stay. A miracle!

But at that moment, I realise two things - it was not my own reasons that changed her mind, but her own decision to stay. I was not a factor in her staying.

The other thing was that I asked the wrong love of my life to stay! The person who stayed turned out not to be the person I thought they were - I mean, it was literally the wrong person.

M, I read very little into dreams, but the possibility that I convinced the wrong woman to stay with me seems like an entirely plausible state of affairs, doesn't it? Existentially speaking, I mean.

Isn't this always the way? The moment you have what you need, the moment it stops being what you need and becomes what you have. I liked this dream because it illustrates just how we will try to desperately hang on to what we have when we fear losing it, but take little satisfaction in getting it back.

In other words, it remains all about the symptoms, and not about the disease itself. Or at least that's how it looks to me. Any other ideas?