Thursday, March 15, 2007


After I am done with today’s chores and obligations, I’m hopping on a plane and heading out east. It is certain that I will not get to my final destination until after midnight and so posting wont be possible until well into tomorrow.

And where will posting be from? Tomorrow I’m in Wilmington, Delaware. Saturday – back to D.C.. Sunday – back in Madison. Surely all three will get due recognition here, though periods of work and expected east coast episodes of snow and rain will make it seem like I am one foot in the Midwest all along.

Actually, over-nighting with daughters and eating up a storm while I’m there places this right smack in the realm of an extremely wonderful little trip. So, expect plenty of happy tunes here on Ocean the next few days, weather and work notwithstanding.

More tomorrow.

buying things

How you shop says mountains about your past, about your relationship to your parents, about your failures in life and the degree of faith you have in a better future.

I am a terrible shopper. I hate mulling over things that need to be acquired. If I find something suitable, I want it and that’s that. The idea of looking around for an alternative – something that perhaps is a better value or even functions better, holds no appeal to me. I found it and I never want to look again. Shopping done.

It has been pointed out to me that I am truly a product of postwar Poland. I lived in a country where acquiring things was not a part of each day. There was nothing to acquire. Store shelves were bare. A few old cans of herring, loaves of bread and even those disappeared in the course of the day so that you had to buy at a certain hour when you knew delivery would be made. You wait too long and you’ll have missed your chance at bread.

We hoarded back then. Toilet paper. Never enough toilet paper in the stores. Sometimes months would pass and toilet paper would not be there. I wondered what happened to stall the production of toilet paper so often. Mostly though, I did not wonder about any of it. I accepted shortages, just as I accept bad weather in March.

And so sit me down with a construction crew, where I am negotiating how to keep the price down on the interior of the condo that I am about to purchase and you got yourself a nightmare of a situation.

No, I don’t want to change the refrigerator. I like the one I picked. I don’t want to look for another. And I like the stove that is meant for professional cooks even though I rarely cook these days. Everything. I like everything as decided in one fleeting second a few days back. No, I do not want to consider alternatives. I found it , I like it, I want to spend no more time on this. Lower the price so that I can afford it and let’s move on.

It’s not a strategy that makes you rich in life, but a life spent on obsessing about acquisition, on finding the cheapest, the best, the most practical, most suitable thing out there seems like a terrible waste of time. Besides, the item you have settled on wont be there past four o’clock and who knows when the next shipment will come in, or when the factory will close down for good and so it’s best to buy it now while it’s there or else you’ll have neither bread nor toilet paper in your cupboard.