Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

Yesterday as we were wheeling our bikes out of the grocery store parking lot, Mike said:

At first, I saw a Prius, and I was like, "Yeah Prius! Woohoo!" then I was like, "You know what's better than a freaking Prius?!? Riding your effing bike to the store!"

He then proceed to analyze how Americans just love to purchase stuff. ANY stuff, especially if that stuff is supposed to be good for us. We can be "green" and still be hardcore consumers! Have our cake and eat it, too! All is good in the world!

That mentality is obviously wrong in so many ways, but it's not surprising - billions of dollars get pumped into the marketing and advertising industry in this country. People are paid to make us think we need more stuff. Lots of stuff. And we do like to shop - it's practically our national pastime.

Let's think about exercise for a minute, shall we? Our grandparents didn't have to exercise - they had chores and walked or biked places. They got fresh air because computers, video games, and TVs didn't keep them inside all day. They didn't have to carve out special time for exercise, they just stayed in shape doing everyday activities.

Today? We have machines and tools to make our lives easier -- from our power vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers to the car-centric suburbs...As a result, we have to do less physical work. Which I'm sure many people would praise. But then, since we sit at a desk and/or in a car most of the day, we either get fat or have to haul ourselves to the gym and jump on another machine to get into shape.

I'm totally a product of this culture - on my college campus, everyone was constantly either on their cellphones or listening to their ipod. But I wonder if it sort of ruins our sense of community when everyone is always by themselves - in their car alone, or on a treadmill with their earbuds stuck in their ears, or chatting on their cellphone as they walk their dog around the block. A professor in college mentioned one day that if we run or walk outside while listening to music, we miss so much. We miss the chance to clear our minds and be connected with what is around us.

At first, I balked. I ran to be in shape, my ipod made it more bearable. But then I tried it - running at night with no music, just the street in front me. I became addicted. (Check out this ode to running on my old blog.)

Now, I'm glad we live somewhere we can walk across the street for some coffee or ride our bikes to the market. I like to be outside and interact with people! And get exercise while doing something else, instead of forcing myself to because I'm "supposed to" and because "it's healthy." (Bonus: If you bike or walk places, you are likely supporting local businesses. Unless you happen to live really close to a suburban-sprawl-chain-store-strip-mall area.)

I guess what I'm really wondering is: Why can't we just simplify instead of making everything so complicated??

When I lived in Hawaii, this was my only mode of transportation.

What was Hawaii like, you ask?

Well, that was my school.
And that was my chubby self after working at Cold Stone :)

Yep, I liked it there.


  1. I really liked this post, thanks for giving me something to think about. That picture of your school is amazing!

  2. A-men to that post! I'm pretty sure as impending crises (peak oil, global warming, depression) become realities, we'll all be forced to live a simpler life. The good thing is at least we're wise to it now and won't be surprised or disappointed when that happens...

  3. TTWAS: Yes, taking a semester to go to college to Hawaii was pretty much the best thing ever. Hope the thinking is going well. ;-)

    Callina: We might still be surprised and disappointed when our lives completely change, but hopefully we can put it in perspective, right...?


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