Monday, May 9, 2011

Back in the U.S.

      Excess is customary in the land where the trappings of wealth signify worth. How did America corner the world market on stuff? Being relatively bottom rung in earnings I can’t afford a home, but have managed to live just fine without one. Crewing on sailboats, finding great, but inexpensive hotels in foreign countries and trading work or paintings for rooms is working out well for me. Walking into Whole Foods in Redondo Beach slapped me with the disparity between the wealthy and everyone else. My fondest moments, where I felt truly alive and connected, have often been with people who had nothing left to lose. I’m not slamming the finer things in life because eating well is a good thing and having stuff is fun, but in the grocery aisle with so many products to choose from, my brain went numb. A grocery store in a small town in Mexico was easy. What they have is what you are going to eat and the options are usually limited to one choice per item.
     Very soon grocery stores in America will lose their grandeur. As I settle back into my role as caretaker for my Mom over the next few months I will regain the ability to make lightning fast choices in grocery aisles. Honey smooth or creamy? With or without a chunk of bees wax? In a tube, a jar or a plastic bear? From an organic farm or wild bees, maybe imported or the sale brand? Wow, even water comes in fifty nine forms.
      The magazines at the counter with all the famous people I didn’t recognize held me spellbound. What is the fascination with rich, popular strangers? Didn’t we jointly kill Princess Diana one tabloid at a time with our need to consume her photos? So who is still buying this crap? And isn’t much of the current violence in Mexico the direct result of America’s appetite for mood altering drugs? That is a choice I can easily make, just holler HELL NO. Without a market for illegal drugs there will no longer be a reason to produce them. In my time in Mexico I never heard one disparaging remark about Americans or felt any animosity towards me. What if no one bought drugs and used the money to take vacations? Try somewhere warm where people actually like us. Baja California Sur is safe and beautiful. Maybe the U.S. Government could give up the war on drugs and start subsidizing drug free vacations. It could be so much fun no one would ever need to get high again.  


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