Full and happy

Los Angeleno by birth, Northwesterner by choice, Second-hander by nature. Librarian, housebound chef, father, and lowly subject ruled over by the needs and whims of a very old house.
Partial to Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese cookery but will eat damn near anything. Collector of many strange things..the result is chaos and anarchy and a very pleasant place to live.
There is pleasure in accumulation, not just "collecting": music, books and film, in all their multi-formated glory. Outsider artists and those kinds of prints you would recognize if you took liberal studies classes in college. Cooking implements and gadgets for recipes still untried or those ventured. Glasses for most types of libations. Flowers in the garden, herbs in the pot.
It's a life of the senses and a good home life reflects that. Walking helps take in all the rest. Requires no special equipment, opens up the pores, brightens the taste buds, clears the decks for further adventures, puts on the miles, widens the eyes and helps fuel the imagination.

Live boldly, play graciously and love with all your heart knowing that true love comes only once or twice in this lifetime. Speaking of which..donde estas, Empress of my Heart?


"Lack imagination and miss the better story" Yann Martel

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result....the worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

"Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you
You must travel it for yourself" Walt Whitman

And above all, friends should possess the rare gift of sitting. They should be able, no, eager, to sit for hours-three, four, six-over a meal of soup and wine and cheese, as well as one of twenty fabulous courses.

Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask,

When shall we live if not now?

-From Serve it Forth,
M.F.K. Fisher

Friday, September 25, 2009

Where did the money tree go?

Music, I never seem to get enough of it. Well, this is, until today.

This evening I was trolling the stacks of my local Goodwill when I decided, against all common sense and possiblity, to hit up their cd rack to see what kinds of new stuff they had in. I figured maybe I would find something truly great that would tempt me to break my budget. The Hot Dog King had just paid out a bit of cash to me for running him around town on some errands, so I had a touch of small change in my pocket, but money I had earmarked for gas and a bit of cilantro next door at Sav-a-Lot.

Well, I wandered over and sat down on the floor anyway thinking I would find a blues album I left behind a couple days before. Damn if they didn't restock the whole rack with some dead man's cd collection or some near equivilent. I sat there spellbound before the assembled titles, and with nobody breathing down my neck pulled nearly eighty (80!!) cd's off the rack that were hot, semi-hot or interesting enough for me to want to buy. Back in the day when I wielded charge cards with abandon that scenario would of had me sweating. It was all I could do not to pick up the entire stack and head over to the checkout counter to buy them all. For some reason, maybe sanity, I balked and set the stack back down in the rack and ignored them all. I heard a call from the overhead speakers saying that VHS movies were two for a buck that day and went that route, instead.

For me setting down those cd's was a realization that the freewheeling spending patterns of my past were done and that my days of using credit cards as a salve to sooth my emotional state were over. I left the store trying to figure out how I could have ever possibly justified that kind of purchase considering my employment status and couldn't find a way to winning that argument. It was clear to me that from there on out I could only buy something if I had the cash in my pocket to pay for it. The whole justification of buying a stack of music with credit because it was hot, new and novel to me was gone. I had no argument considering that that "money", if used in the form of credit today, would kill my budget later on.

Money. Wow, so where did my money tree go? I've worked hard all my life and have always made good money, well, good for a librarian but due to bills and kids and a one paycheck household never really had a large overflow of cash to set aside. Right now I am waiting for my unemployment and retirement cash to arrive in order to make it past this crazy spot I'm in. It's strange, but also a sign of the times, to find myself in this situation, to be waiting for work to show up. Never had this problem before. Back in the day I would throw out a resume, land a job, easy peasy. In the past I always felt I was the "fair haired boy" to beat and would find a work without much of a struggle but I know that the world right now is filled with an awful lot of younger, even hungrier "fair haired boys" who will work for practically nothing and I'm up against all of them. Yeah, it's a much smaller pie for all of us to share these days, that's for sure.

I know, too, that I am not in as big of a hurry to do what I was doing before so maybe that gives me a leg up on the situation, I don't know for sure. What I do know is that reinvention of Accumulate Man is the key to my survival and that's where I am going with all this. It's not stuff that I'm searching for, so money is not the issue. Money always comes. Job satisfaction, organizational integrity, loyalty amoung colleagues, honesty between workers and management...all that...that's what I want this next go round, not more meaningless stuff to fill my burgeoning shelves with.

Yeah, there's gotta be something more to work, to life, than a mere paycheck, than a pile of loot at the end of a work week. That old spending pattern of mine says alot about my life, tells me that something major was missing. Looking around me, at my years of accumulation, I can tell that I wasn't hungry for music, or books or movies, or even novelty. I was hungry for...what? satisfaction? Yeah, I wanted more than anything to be satisfied with what I had, both at work and at home, and baby, you just can't buy that.

Maybe it took a stack of eighty this or that to fill the hole that work, that life, that relationships, wasn't filling. No matter, one thing is for certain and that is my ability, rather, my desire to walk into a store and blow two hundred and fifty bucks in credit on music is long gone. Know that at one time I would do that without blinking an eye, damn the costs. Say's an awful lot about where I've been, where I'm at and where I'm going. I am sure that I am not the only one in the country who feels this way about things like that these days. Sobering, eh?

So, hey, if you see that old money tree of mine go ahead and keep it. Peel me off a few leaves and send them along with your good wishes. I'm on my way to find the place where satifaction grows, maybe not on trees, but someplace deep down inside. Yeah, all will be well and good up the road. See you there, companeros. Affectionately, your old pal, Accumulate Man


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sobering yeah, but also liberating. No using money, except for absolute essentials I am forced to stored resources - not all material - and creativity. Am really noticing how much MORE my life is when focused on being at home and doing things without consuming. And I am with you completely on the retail therapy aspect too. Consuming, buying to salve a deep emptiness: a cultural pasttime. Is it true that after 9/11 Bush urged Americans to go out and shop to heal? How messed up is that? tu amiga