Monday, October 17, 2011

Dilemmas of Modern Life

My kitchen cabinets are falling apart.  The cabinets are old, cheap, and ugly anyway, and now the hinges have stopped working properly.  They make an incredibly annoying crack-ing sound when you open and close them.  Also, inside, the paint is peeling off.  What to do?

From the environmental point of view, the answer is clear.  Replace the hinges and, if necessary, paint over the inside.

From the common-sense real-estate point of view, though, another answer is clear.  Get need new cabinets, and since the dishwasher also doesn't work and the oven is old and crappy, might as well "update" the whole kitchen.  It's an "investment," right?

I hate carrying a backpack.  It's a pain, and it looks ridiculous with a nice outfit.  But I do it anyway because I want to carry my laptop and no other system seems workable for this.  I'm constantly trying to keep down the number and weight of the things I have to carry, so I can carry a slightly smaller, slightly more stylish backpack instead of a bigger, bulkier one.  I'm already carrying a water bottle, and carrying a reusable coffee cup will put me over the brink.  What to do?

From the environmental point of view, the answer is clear.  Carry a bigger backpack.

From the fashion and life comfort point of view, though, another answer is clear.  Forget it.  Why should I have to walk around like a pack mule, walking through the desert, carrying all my daily needs on my back?  I'm living in a city, for heaven's sake.  In civilized places, when you stop to get coffee they put it in a ceramic cup while you sit and drink it.  Then they wash and reuse it.  Is it my fault that places in North America can't get this sorted out?   

I could go on and on, and we haven't even considered the conflicts between femininity, practicality, equality, and health.  But it would get boring.  I'm already bored, thinking about it.

There are things about consumer culture that I love.  But these things reflect its f***ed up nature. There are vast forces committed to getting you to do what, all things considered, you think is probably for the best, and forces that arise from nowhere, making your sensible choices seem stupid.

And then you pick up a newspaper or magazine, and in section A you read a story that says how the new style of kitchen is retro, or the new thing in shoes is the super high heel, or the new "it" bag is the Prada Glace Calf Degradé Top Handle (see above!) for only $2050, money that if you had it you could never justify spending it on a handbag anyway, and then in section Q you read how kitchen renovations are the biggest contributor to landfills or high heels will ruin your body forever.

I mean, can't they get their story straight?  Is it too much to ask?

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