Wanting Stuff

I used to want stuff. I guess I still do, inasmuch as I want to maintain a relatively high standard of living (particularly in terms of living standards worldwide). In fact, I’ll keep it real; I’d like to live even “better.” But I just don’t “want stuff” the way I once did–with emotions invested. Now that I have experienced living at various socioeconomic and social levels, as an adult and as a young person, I see that it doesn’t _really_ matter. I mean, as long as you’re happy yada yada. But in more concrete terms, when I try to nail down exactly what it is I want, I sort of draw a blank. When I try to imagine what would be “better,” I wonder what that even means and why I’m so caught up in whatever it is I’m caught up in.

When I stop to reflect, I wonder if I prioritize my emotional and physical condition over status and stuff and even experiences (to some extent–all of this is all conditional, of course). I want to feel physically healthy and mentally fit above all, at least until they can get my brain into plastic like I read about on the Internet, assuming the technology isn’t too buggy. For the record, if Google is the only company doing brain-to-plastic conversions when the time comes for mine, I will just skip it; I just honestly don’t trust their quality control with something so important when they can’t even manage multiple sessions on their own site in their own browser.

OK so stuff. I was reading something or hearing something or I forget what, but OH! YES! I saw someone tweet-brag about having purchased a first edition book, and I’m just like, “Why?” I know this against the ethos of large swaths of corporate murica, but I just don’t understand stuff acquisition….ok that’s sort of a lie. I recently bought that silly Italian book Codex Seraphinianus so that people who come over can get a kick out of it. Which is kind of dumb because nobody ever comes over, and I already bought a big Dubuffet book for the same reason and skipped the coffee table entirely, putting it on a partially obscured shelf to collect dust. But as a general matter, I don’t really like stuff, don’t have space for stuff, and after watching a few seasons of “Hoarders” on Netflix*, I sort of scorn/fear trinketry and consumerism, outside of the things I myself consider essential and/or already own, minus the two books I mentioned. I keep not getting to my point.

My point is that …sometimes I feel like I’m from a different species than other people because I can’t imagine wanting some of the things people tell me they have bought. On one hand, I feel sort of smug about this because I believe it was the Buddha who said that wanting is misery or something. On another, I just feel sorta mystified because I would guess I have an above-average personal demand for cash, but that’s just to maintain the baseline lifestyle I have established and so I can experiment with life, which I imagine is what it’s all about for me. Yep, growing up–before the accident, I was encouraged and free to take up hobbies, read books, and explore life [so long as that exploration fit in the comfortable box of middle class protestant sensibilities]; a key priority of mine since has been to continue and extend that discovery, I guess.

Man, I tell you what. Note to my biographer: First of all, shame on you, you money-grubbing, truth-distorting, opportunistic, libelous excuse for a so-called writer. Secondly, thank you for your interest in my story. At 33, I would describe my life as ..you know, I wonder which act I’m in; I’m pretty superstitious so I’m having to knock on wood as I type this, unfortunately, but I’m also confident enough in eastern and western medicines and non-medicinal healing to speculate a little bit. Oh, AND the Juice Press–if for no other reason, I need to continue to make money because I love fresh, cold-pressed vegetable juice. OK so sorry. At 33, I look at my–let’s say childhood–as before and after, though it felt continuous as it happened, which of course also makes sense. My dad died, and suddenly everryyyttthhhiinnnggg was different and kinda fucked up and not hopeless but also not like especially enticing. I got to participate in a few activities I maybe wouldn’t have otherwise, probably just because it was something to keep my mind off the fact that I would’ve/should’ve been on family vacation or whatever. But when I look back, I see that I was really well-supported, but after the accident, …I mean, I love my mom and feel terrible to think how badly she would feel if she read this :( but the reality of the situation is that one bereaved parent doesn’t provide the same environment as two emotionally stable parents. Which is only the most obvious thing in the world, and the differences between my mother’s and my personalities certainly didn’t make it any easier. And so before my dad died, I played piano and violin and little league and cub scouts and all kinds of other privileged, mainstream things–oh yea went to confirmation at church and Sunday School (omg church–totally never think about that stuff!). Before midway through my thirteenth year, I had two loving parents in a stable household and a brother of a near-ish age. It was great. We had a boat–if you have the means, I highly recommend it, though now I’m too much of a freak to swim in lakes as carelessly as I did as a kid. Somewhat ironically or hypocritically depending on whether or not you want to give me a pass, I strongly believe in the importance of exposing kids to germs early on and letting them play in dirt and lakes and stuff. But, I mean, lakes?? The sea is where it’s at.

Yea so, when I was young, I had silly little toys and would get miscellaneous little cartoon men and monsters and maybe matchbox cars. I actually still have the Emperor from Star Wars, which I got through redeeming proofs of purchase (mom did it) back in the early 80s when I was like maybe 4 years old. I also collected baseball cards, as kids my age did in the 1980s, and my dad always joked that they weren’t worth what Beckett said they were, which turned out to be 100% correct. Baseball cards and collecting things in general is 98.9% bullshit, with the remaining 1.1% being profiteering.

Anyway, I think in part because I got stuff when I was a kid (some I wanted, some I didn’t) and because I felt such a huge emotional loss following the death of my father, I somehow bypassed an emotional connection to things that other people experience. Actually, it wasn’t just the death of my father; it was the completely different life trajectory that follows that kind of loss. Things that seem to matter to other people don’t typically feel very important to me. Whatever it is that led to here and as alienating as it can sometimes be, I’m pretty grateful that I just don’t really feel much attachment to stuff**(***).

* Is there a more indie alternative to Netflix? Something like bandcamp but for movies?
** Notwithstanding what I want/need when I want/need it.
*** This is at 33, of course; I aspire to shamelessly collect boats later in life, using the proceeds from my appearances on souvenir coin infomercials.

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