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.
In the early hours of my commute, I stopped for gas and a coffee at a convenient gas station off the highway. To my surprise I not only see signs of life, it’s someone that I know. Todd, a friend from high-school strangely perky and alert at such a bleary-eyed morning told me about my brother’s bachelor party.
Believing in the polite fiction that the party was going to be gentile tippling and social badinage is not enough to make me want to go. I’m sure the party will be some writhing, skank-ridden, hedonistic night led by his obviously unmarried friends. Though my protest of this party can be considered pernicious, it’s not the sole topic of this posting.
A few months back I recall taking in a few documentaries and a really good radio call-in show about the sex trade, from the minor titillating strippers to sex workers; legal and illegal. The women in these pieces talked about their hardships and the variety of their clientele. Some had lives and family that were not impacted by their occupation others had deep scars and regret over their life choices. For the most part these career women were motivated not by their sense of altruism but the scores of the willing and eager to give them money.
I am so fascinated by the industry in the way that one gets ahead and climbs the ladder of success. Is there a mirrored glass ceiling that one can hit? If you’re only as good as your next tease, act, or scene there’s got to be a point where one feels lackluster. Are there strippers out there that feel they are stuck in a rut because their frame cannot support a larger breast implant? Are there prostitutes and porn stars that work extra diligently to get that labial nip and tuck? At what point does a Nevada hooker have an existential breakdown?