Monday, March 27, 2006
CAN I BE SERIOUS FOR A MO?
KJJ: America, I need to talk to you. I need to talk to you about what I saw on something called "Oprah". "Oprah" is helping "grown-ass people" to "get out of debt". Fine. I salute her for it. And I think her approach is vaguely awesome. She interjects at just the right moments to gracefully inform the debtors that they are somewhat spiritually void, living unconsciously, and on auto-pilot. Darn tootin'. Let me tell you something. We Apartment Hobos are BROKE. We know how it goes. Since I moved to Austin, I have basically had to start my life over. I sold all my possessions and furniture. I shut-down a business that had finally reached the point of breaking even and was finally getting press and orders. JRW took on the obligation of supporting two people on a modest salary. I spent half a year unable to work due to immigration policies. (Finally got my green-card! Wicked!). Anyways- we know how to do "broke". And let me tell you America; ye who hath the lowest personal savings since the great depression; you do not solve broke-itude by EATING OUT EVERY MEAL!!! I am so aghast at how civilization has developed to this point, I am confused at where to begin. It all comes down to one Woman on "Oprah"-- an educated grown up person-- who HAS NEVER GROCERY SHOPPED before in her life! And another family who has never made a grocery list! I realizing my own naivete in thinking that people are generally raised to learn how to function at mealtimes. Coming from a D.I.Y. family and sorta punk-rock ethic, it seems so natural to me that you would learn how to a) cook; b) obtain groceries; and sometimes c) know how to grow your own food given the opportunity. I could see myself initiating a subtle "back to the land" movement within my own small family of two humans, so to a degree I understand that perhaps I am not like the others. The type of others you would be introduced to on "Oprah". The present finds KJJ and JRW spending time together to decide what would be interesting to cook. Then we spend time figuring out what we'z gonna eat for a week and what we need to obtain from the grocery store to make this happen. We have a list. It takes time. We sweat at the grocery store over whether we will be able to afford certain items. We do not go to the GAS STATION (aka convenience store) for food, like Woman on "Oprah". We do not feed our (non-existant) child drive-through for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We cook together and we sit together and eat. Sorry, enough about us. Back to Woman on "Oprah". Woman on "Oprah" did not even own cutlery or dishes. Woman on "Oprah" is, I'm now learning, a typical American! An educated, adult woman with a good job and a family. She had a big ole' family, and I can't believe none of her friends or family would have influenced her to learn how to cook, garden, or... like... go to a grocery store!? She spent $700 a week on "eating out". I can barely classify a convenience store as "eating out". Shit, I can barely classify Applebees as "eating out". During the "Oprah" show, her financial guru obtained for her some pots and pans, a coffee maker, and a blender. She was brave and worked to make her first meal, which looked like a tuna pasta salad. She was delighted! She had made something! And both families who shopped with a list were pumped too! They were all like baby hamsters opening their eyes for the first time. This gives me hope that people can sort of "get it together", it gives me hope that maybe just maybe, one day the Environmental Movement (ha!) could maybe just maybe "get it together" and appeal to soccer moms and really, like, take hold. But thats a whole nother subject best left to when I get drunk at your party and corner you in the kitchen and say "THE THING YOU GOTTA UNDERSTAND IS...." When the debtors went to the grocery store, the first thing they all gravitated towards were brightly pre-packaged quasi-foods like tacos and god knows what else (we dont usually shop in those aisles so I dont even know what weird shit is on the market now). Their gurus had to explain that if they bought a whole ham they could eat for a week for the same price as the pre-packaged tacos. (Don't even get me started on the vegetarian, vegan possibilities / omissions). So, to review, people are having life-altering moments on television when someone shows them how to buy groceries. I hope my spaceship lands soon and my long-lost alien comrades return me swiftly to whatever planet I come from, cuz I am hopelessly out of touch with my human friends. People have essentially ZERO connection to where anything comes from and where anything goes. People have zero connection to land, food, ecosystems and each other. How tragic. JRW and I have had a few long discussions about Woman on "Oprah". For he was raised in Houston, fending for himself food-wise, or often coming home late enough that dinner was already prepared. JRW also ate in restaurants with his family much more often than I. My kitchen and food memories are, summertime in Alberta when my father would make us pick huge batches of beans and peas from the rather "farm-like" vegetable garden. Our family also grew lettuce, salad greens, potatoes, corn, raspberries and strawberries and herbs. I usually got a small section in the garden where I would try to grow my own herbs and ridiculous things like watermelons! My grandmother showed me how to make French crepes, ommelletes, and Polish dumpling soups (which I WISH I could remember now). Ahh memories. We ate out and ordered in VERY rarely. I dont think I can even remember our family ever ordering a pizza. Where am I going with this? I am not attempting to list how "I am better" than Woman on "Oprah". I am expressing surprise and bafflement. Perhaps it is me, K to the J to the J who is out of touch? It is 2006, we exchange money for goods and services, like food. It is a fast-moving world... etc etc... In the past 90% of the goods in a home were MADE in the home. Clothing, food, furniture. Now we buy everything. Our hills (I dont want to say "land-fill") are filling with discarded Swiffer-motherfucking-Sweepers, and people carry home shopping bags full of plastic bags containing garbage bags. In conclusion, I'd like us all to consider Voluntary Human Extinction. Thanks for listening!