Friday, June 05, 2015

consummerism and love

When I was young, I didn't want "things." I was in Poland at an age where things of interest to many girls (if you'll excuse the stereotyping) -- records, clothes, make up -- were not readily available. Too, there were no commercials instructing you to want something. That's not to say we wanted nothing. But say you saw people wearing leather boots (very popular in winter). So you want them. Others want them too. Indeed, every young person wants a pair of leather boots. Okay, but you had to wait for a shipment and then take whatever is available. There was no choice -- that great engine behind consumer spending. Without choice, you take what's there and if there isn't much of anything, then you shift your attentions elsewhere -- to long walks in the park and cafe meetings with girlfriends, during which you talk about what you really want -- in my case, the attention of a boy I loved.

When I moved to the States to finish my studies here, I didn't immediately switch to the world of want. What money I earned from many (many!) part time jobs, I spent on travel back to Europe.

But gradually I discovered stuff. For me, it was kitchen stuff! How I loved the quality of it all! I acquired my first Le Creuset pot when I was still a student (I continue to use that same pot every single week). When I finally acquired an immersion blender (not until I was fifty), I was thrilled!

What I soon discovered though was that there's only so much kitchen stuff I could find in Madison stores. No, we weren't as spartan here as post war Poland, but the choices weren't grand and overwhelming. Too, when I struck out on my own at 52 (kids gone, husband divorced), I had to shut down this inclination to spend money on stuff.

Ed helped. Don't buy new! Fix the old! -- is his motto. I tried not to be tempted.

Until today.

I received a notice in the mail that we are in the week of the grand opening of  the popular retailer, Sur La Table at our local mall. Now, I've been to this store in San Francisco. But having one in Madison -- ohhhh, that's just too tempting.

I had to go.

Right after breakfast...


...and a quick look at the flower fields...


...I set out to grocery shop which "unfortunately" forces me to drive right past Sur La Table.

I spend a blissful half hour there looking at cooking stuff. And like a true addict, I buy one small item (20% off any one purchase this week!), but it hardly matters -- I walk with a cup of cappuccino (freely made for customers on their beautiful espresso machines) and gawk and fondle one plate, another pan, a glass, a utensil -- all to the sound of jazzy music selections and wonderfully friendly staff members -- heaven!

I will make a point of not stopping there on my weekly shopping trips downtown again.

In the afternoon, I am with Snowdrop. She is five months old today!


Such an accomplished girl! In addition to her love of standing, scooting around on her back, bouncing in her Jumparoo, she has discovered, as of today, this:


No more the whole fist in the mouth! In comes the thumb!

Otherwise, she greets me with her usual vocalizations and grins and, too, her serious stroller countenance...


She is in fine spirits -- of course she is! Five months is no small banana!

And I'm in fine spirits as well. My back issues of yesterday aren't gone, but they're greatly diminished. I can play sit and stand with Snowdrop without (much of) a wince!

And here is the truth about babies, children, adults, the world -- if you listen hard to what they want from you, it's always the same: a sympathetic ear and an empathetic smile. A hug seals the deal. Your rewards? This: