I went to WalMart today, which I almost never do. A few random thoughts that floated through my head:
- Can’t find a coffee grinder… do people not grind their own coffee anymore? Everything’s been taken over by those over priced single cup, premeasured hermetically sealed monstrosities. Too few variables in those things. No common pot for making enough to share. Does that reveal something about our grab and go society? (As I write this, I’m drinking a cup of home roasted coffee that I came dangerously close to setting on fire the other day… yeah, it tastes a bit smokey… oh well, it has its charm but not its intended quality.)
- The louder the Christmas music blared the more depressed I became. Especially the “you better be good because Creepy Santa is watching you” theme. Since when does Christian culture equate to “be good and get stuff.” I could have sworn the opposite was the faith: we’re not good, we deserve nothing, God gives, we can’t.
- Everything I picked up was made in China…. read down a few blog posts. ‘Nuff said. I came in for socks, I left without them. No non-Chinese socks to be found. At least not ones worth buying.
- There were entire lines of products intended to be gifts for my stuff. My ipod has no needs. Its an inanimate object. It will whatever it is without accessories. There were also tons of things nobody needs being snapped up by unthinking people. Synthetic pillow pets that serve neither as pillows nor as pets; trinkets and gadgets that clutter and get used once a year if at all. Garage sale fodder.
- I did find a sweater. A boring thing. Not made in China. Made instead in Bangladesh. Yea. Exploiting sweatshop laborers for a sweater I don’t actually need.
- Nothing here is real… those words kept going through my mind over and over as I looked on at slick packaging, advertizing galore, phony “jolliness” blared over the speakers, synchronized television displays, color, shazaam, kitsch and glassy eyed unquestioning customers that never question it all.
- It was awkward to walk from WalMart to meet my family nearby. The dug out shored up landscape was made for cars, not feet. Instead of taking the direct route, I had to go the other way, walk in the road, pretend to basically be a car. Human feet were not expected.
- I understand the premise of the Matrix movie; stay in and feel good, get out and understand what’s really going on. The truth hurts. Some days I can live right alongside the rest of the world, happily doing stupid stuff. Some days I’m outside the Matrix, out of sync with “normal” and knowing that being depressed is the right thing to be.
- I walked out of WalMart empty handed, an hour wasted, and depressed. Why do so few people question this futility?
After WalMart I stopped off at my mother-in-law’s house… there’s a crack in the brick wall at her house with flowers growing right out of the wall. About 18 inches off the ground, I have no idea where their roots could be, but the little Johnny-jumpups are indeed jumping right out of the wall, still blooming a little in the southern climate. Okay, so its not the best thing that could ever happen to her wall, but its made me smile. Beauty unexpected, out of place. Sterility betrayed by beauty. Cracks indeed in the walls.
And I guess that’s the Gospel; hope emerging from the cracks in the foundation.