Monday, June 06, 2005

Wishful Thinking

I would love to find a relatively small store, owned by someone that I know, within 10 miles of my home where I could buy everything that I need while knowing that I was helping to make that person's business thrive.

If I could Walmart in the middle of the night, when it is one of the only stores in town that is open, and buy something there without thinking of the effect that it has on small businesses, on local commerce, on the wages of retail workers, and on the efforts made by those retail workers to unionize, I might just consider doing so.

If there were more privately owned, non-chain restaurants other than greasy-spoon fast food joints, I would truly enjoy eating out more often and would feel more a part of a community than when I'm being served by a waiter or waitress with a plastic name-badge who is wearing the obligatory "flare".

It would be so enriching to be able to find things manufactured locally, for a reasonable price, that looked somewhat different from the things created 1000 or even 100 miles away. If my house were filled with unique items made by craftsmen that I knew personally, every piece of furniture would be imbued with personal meaning.

It would be refreshing to see more people spending more time outside talking, laughing and playing, instead of inside with their TV sets and their commercials, being bombarded with messages about how to live, while not doing much living themselves.

I wish that violence was not glorified in the movies the way that it is, and that the common person wasn't quite as numb to death and destruction as they have become through their exposure to scenes in the media; at the same time I wish that people could experience every bit of cruelty and inhumanity that is presented on the news as if it were happening to a family member and feel compelled to do something about what they're seeing. I wish that could all happen and still leave each of us enough time to live our Clark Kent lives without always gallivanting around the planet to play Superman.

If only we could have all of the luxuries that we now enjoy while living in a world as rich as it was when travelling just a few hundred miles brought you into a somewhat different culture, where people were self-sufficient and relied on one another in a very personal sense, I think we would all feel more satisfied with our society.

Every time I travel through the states now, I marvel at how much every place resembles every other place along the route. "One sprawl to rule them all..." Where is our Mordor?