I came across the Bjork “Big Time Sensuality” video a few days ago. Since then I’ve had a huge revival for the wonderfully quirky Icelandic singer. It turns out that she has had somewhat of a same turn of events as well. Her song “Army of Me” is being covered by several artists and the proceeds will be going to UNICEF. To inject my own cosmic theory into I understand this to be a sign to go to Iceland. Bjork gives to UNICEF. UNICEF was established on my birthday. I must go to Iceland.
I thought that the flight was reasonable and the lodging a tad on the expensive side, but I thought it would be a great destination. How many people out there wax longingly about the old cities of Europe? Breaking out of the Euro-bore attitude, I thought I could experience life and wind up with stories about Reykjavik. Furthering my research on Iceland led me to various travel sites on the Internet and I found some disturbing posts. Some complained about the US$5-9 beers. Other travelers talked about sticking close to the traditional menu to save money. One traveler was so bold to say that Iceland makes a trip to London look cheap.
The prospect of eating mutton and reindeer meat didn’t phase me, but the thought of having to pay out the nose for salad greens and coffee made me wonder if people from other affluent countries swarm to Iceland. Tourists with bundles of cash and adventurous spirits find themselves wherever I go. There are the Belgians and French in their chill outfits. The Spaniards with their tanned innocent faces almost timid in crowds of non-Spanish. The Italians constantly on the mobile phone all the while smoking like there’s no tomorrow. The British bitching about… everything. The curious Taiwanese youth with an even more curious budget. The Japanese of course, are everywhere.
Could Iceland be the one place that these people aren’t interested in? I hope the cold climate during our waning summer days would be the last thing on tourists’ minds. I’d hate to find out that the rotted shark meat is a thrill that many people are seeking.
Just recently my brother and his lovely fiancee were magically transformed through the power of ceremony and lackluster banquet food, into a married couple. I witnessed this from within the wedding party of what could possibly be the largest crowd they will ever have to entertain. Revelers and well-wishers from contrasting paths all converging into one room warmed from the open bar, garrulously mingling from the sheer emotion, and puzzled by my bitterness.
It was obvious that these people were glad to see another milestone in my brother’s life, and they only attended because he had a significant enough impact on their lives. As I, the reclusive and silent brother looked onto the crowd, I had to ask myself, “Am I impact resistant?”.
With all the success that one can amass in a lifetime, there’s no other way to get more people to focus on you for such a long time. Sure there are exceptions; one can develop a charismatic sectarian persona, or organize a party for the sale of purses, plastic containers, and sex toys, but there’s no comparison to a wedding. The union predates civilization because even though we didn’t have many reasons to stay faithful to one another, we wanted to ensure that we would procreate with just one other. Men’s base instinct isn’t to nest, and I think that men only attend weddings to confirm that that the groom is willing to leave the realm of choice and plenty. The single men look on with pity and the already married men whisper under their breaths, “sucker”.
I am a horrible cynic and the world feeds that little monster in me every day. Unquantifiable amounts of entitlement and exuberance expressed in all forays of life only makes the beast angrier. This website being my only outlet, one can say that each and every blog entry is a soupÃ§on of its excrement. This wedding really didn’t turn me on, nor did it have anything to feed my inner monster. Does this mean that weddings are some kind of mood stabilizer? Perhaps… or maybe I this just a sign that I’ve been impacted.
Are your world views getting more mature and optimistic? Only your inner cynicism-beast knows for sure!
I had a nightmarish vision of losing my looks, boyish charm, and sparkling wit. I wonder to myself if I’m going to regret not going to some foreign land to ‘find myself’ or ‘seek inner peace’. I don’t want to make the mid-twenties pompous statement that I’ve seen and done it all. There are countless people out there that find new and unique experiences that the general public will never know. The yen for material possessions binds me to my career. The desire for chocolate cake and sloth point me to a life afforded by celebrity. My rational brain just wants to take a break from the mind-bending frustration of Corporate America. Meritocracy with a sliding scale, wall-to-wall project managers, architects, planners, and pseudo-theoretical-fauxportant experts.
I want to break free from the shackles of jargon and one-upmanship. With the influx of foreign “intelligence” I can’t be guaranteed my job will be available if I asked for a sabbatical. For now, I’ve just got my dirty dirty thoughts. In this fantasy of mine I have a satellite phone, a good pair of shoes, and good traveling cloak. As implausible as it is now, I just assume that I have a huge spending account. If the kids in Pokemon can walk around for days without spending money, shopping, and eating… so can I.
On this magical journey, I would make sure to do things that I cannot do while working for “the man”. In warm climates, I’ll be wearing just my Chanel robe and Vuitton sandals. My hair would be dreadlocked and people would invite me into their home because of my compelling look of bohemian-haute-couture. In colder climates, my robe would be open to reveal layers of well-tailored technical fabrics finished with a really good pair of boots. I would have a wolf-hound and we would track down wild boar and pheasants to serve a small restaurant catering to lovers of game. In large cosmopolitan cities, you wouldn’t spot me in a crowd. I would be dressed much like the humble bike messenger, just tooling around the big up-scale shops while unsuspecting clerks try to assess my varying levels of inpropriety. Thanks to the youth culture, crap is the new chic and skank is the new demure, so long as I have that magical spending allowance I would be a coveted asset to consumerism. Finishing up my time away, I would take up a small hut near a beach in Southeast Asia. A t-shirt, sarong, and a thick layer of DEET would be my leisurely uniform. Subsisting on sour fruits, market fish, rice, and the occasional duck egg until my craving for a glass of Detroit water whips me back home.
Yes, it’s a lovely fantasy… but like celebrity vacations and scenes in porn, you have to avert your gaze and focus on the real world.
No matter the economy, we will always have the discount merchandise stores. Thanks to inflation and the global economy, we no longer have as many ‘five and dime’s but we do have the dollar store. General mass-produced merchandise and poor quality “you can’t complain, it’s only a dollar” line the shelves. These stores have every small thing you could need aside from fresh food. The concept of purchasing an item for the small singular denomination of money appeals to us. These stores don’t tack on round numbers to the price, a marketing gimmick rooted in psychology that the more curved the number the greater the appeal. The number one, a sharp stick getting to the point and succinctly stating its value. Sure one can say that the double zeros trailing that proud one are the round appealing numbers that we so innately desire, but they only soften blow of their proud leader. Like a hip hop artist surrounded by the ubiquitous cloud of licentious women.
I was driving yesterday and I found “Strictly a Dollar” which got me thinking. This format of store can be found anywhere these cheap products can be sold, though other countries don’t have the fun and creative names we have; King Dollar, Family Dollar, Dollar Plus, Dollar Max, Dollar Daze, Dollar Palace, Dollar Craze Plus, Dollar & More Value, Dollar Value Plus, Dollar Mart, Super Star Dollar, Magic Dollar, Dollar Bills, Dollar Town.
The name would be completely wrong in other markets: “75-American-Cents-Mart”, “.80 Euro”, “One Euro Tree”, “Solamente Euro”, “China’s Currency Stabilizer & More”, “Sen-en Dake Desu!”, “50p O-Rama”. The world currency market makes it tough to think about what people are buying all over the globe. If the English were to be comfortable to pay one pound for a thin spatula or a fly swatter, they would be paying almost two American dollars… madness! In turn, if a Filipino were able to buy a plastic dish rack for a peso, it would be comparable to the value of the plastic it was made of, $.018! Analysts can track the world markets and trade to predict what currencies will be doing, but for us all we have to do is see how much people are paying for small goods. Now if only “The Price Is Right” were in every country, we could have an “Uncle Ben’s Minute Rice”, “NAIR Depilatory Cream” or “Palmolive Dishwashing Detergent” indices.