Friday, August 26, 2011

The Final Stop

Let's turn the last corner on the Matronly ride through her defects and shortcomings. Mind you, this is not self-flagellation. The human condition = shortcomings, flaws. And certainly, three little blog posts aren't enough to romp through all of the Matron's.

But she's ready to move onto brighter things. Fickle that way. Sigh . . .another shortcoming.

The last hurrah here is gluttony.
Gluttony. Not a word heard much these days.

Friend to Matron: "How are you?"

Matron: "Suffering! I just feel like such a glutton."

And she would be meaning shoes, not donuts.

Shoes or books, jeans, mugs, earrings, rings, purses, scarves, vitamins, socks, tights, dog collars, combs or anything else that shines at a certain moment: BUY ME.

Because gluttony is not limited to food and drink. No, gluttony includes excessive consumption of 'wealth items.' (thanks wikipedia -- but don't tell her students that she used a less than stellar source).

Now, she wonders what exactly constitutes a 'wealth item'? And what is excessive consumption? You all know what gluttony means: too much. When that too much is ingested, the body -- without moral compass or discernment -- knows. Ugh. Too full, too fat, too floppy, too wired, too tipsy or just, well, stuffed.

But stuff is another matter entirely. How many jackets are enough? (remember this is Minnesota). Of course, a nice orange fleece that's sort of dressy will look lovely for work -- and it's SO unique. She has nothing like it. Then what about running out the door? That lovely piece is eggshell blue but also looks toasty warm; what an unusual combination! Basic black? Must have. Gray hoodie? Who in America doesn't own one?

Just yesterday, the Matron stood at her favorite thrift store (ValuThrift) and contemplated a brand new designer sweater set, white with faux pearls and very pretty, on sale for the whopping price of $4.97 -- something that probably soars close to $70 in the store. A deal! A steal! Who wouldn't take it! Now, the Matron normally DOES buy with this mind: "How much am I saving? What a steal!"

Less frequently does she ask herself if she really needs it.

But this time, she did. Her mind limped over the clothes rack. How many sweaters exactly like this one but just a different color? A quick scan popped up a pink, three blue, two black, one gray, one green, one rose with flowers, a cream with red embroidery, and a silver.

So the real question was: does she need one more color of the nearly exact same sweater (we're talking your basic 1950s button up the front, carry along for if you're cold).

It nearly KILLED her to pass up another opportunity to flaunt a good deal in front of anyone who would listen, but pass, she did. But the agony of it all -- the desire! the decision! the drama! -- made her realize just how connected she is to STUFF.

Cheap stuff, thrift stuff, organic stuff, fair trade stuff, locally grown and animal-cruelty free stuff? Sure. But all the progressive politics in the world can --and now, often do -- result in more stuff, stuff, stuff.

Gluttony. Ah, gluttony, she says with a smile, happy for the choice of pajamas and a blue or red popcorn bowl. She's not sure if that's something one gives up or is an essential part of middle-class America.


Ingrid said...

Stuff, stuff, stuff: it reminded me of this great piece from George Carlin. And I just typed in "George, stuff" to find it :-)

ilyanna said...

I hear that same siren song, but after a summer of cleaning out old "stuff" that once was precious to someone, I am certain that I could live with only what I can carry. Have you checked out any of the de-cluttering websites? Totally different way of thinking.

Anonymous said...

A very thought provoking post. Thank you.