Buy Nothing Day Redux
Because I bought my train ticket back home earlier in the week and because I didn’t really need anything else today, I celebrated both Buy Nothing Days. Yesterday was North American Buy Nothing Day and today is International Buy Nothing Day. I’m traveling/working and don’t have much to say, so I will simply share with you my thoughts of my walk around my home town yesterday.
I took a walk around my hometown of Menomonee Falls, WI today. I walked past my old elementary school, the Chinese restaurant where I got my first real job, the falls that the town is named for, the building where my friends and I shot one of our movies in High School, the Bugline Recreational Trail and through the downtown shopping district.
Seriously, what do people do in this town? What did I do? Where are the people? So many clean sidewalks and a beautiful river with a trail to walk along. Why did I not see a living human being unless they were driving a car or working in their garage? The weather today is impeccably nice. It is the perfect day for a bike ride, a walk, a game of football or catch, yet no one seems to be enjoying it. I honestly felt as if I was in a ghost town. At least the geese and ducks were swimming today, otherwise I would have felt at a loss.
It was along the frontage road, where I shot one of my student films for college, that I saw the first signs of life. One man was running. Another was moving heavy objects back and forth. One woman was zipping up her children’s jackets. Thank you! There is life in my hometown…
…At the Best Buy.
I found myself wandering in and pacing around, looking at people more than prices. I realized that these new stores along the frontage road here are the new social clubs where currency replaces conversation. I was bumped and brushed more times than I could count and was apologized to only once. No one approached me to see if I needed anything. Maybe they knew I had left my wallet at home, for there was no hemorrhoidal bulge protruding from my ass cheek.
For one day, everyone here seems in a trance. Running for the cars, carrying televisions back and forth to replace the televisions they already have, zipping up jackets that were on sale in preparation for the next journey to the next store.
And then I realize things seem this way a lot. Where has the community gone as the commerce grows? I’m not talking about the gatherings with friends and families. I’m talking about the everyday goodwill that one time in my life seemed genuine. Can I find it in the coupon pages? Can I see it in the reflection of the Plasma screen? Can I see it anywhere at all anymore? Can you?
On the walk home, I noticed something. I noticed more people outside… Unloading the boxes from their cars, scrambling inside to plug in their toys and avoid each other’s stares by all staring in the same general direction.
Hope you all had a good holiday weekend. Everything returns to normal tomorrow.
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