Ads, TVs, Cereals & Shampoos
I'm sure that you can chalk this one up to cultural shock, but I'm going to pretend that it's not and attribute my thoughts (sorry Rene, I can't stop this whole thinking pattern I have established) to my attempts to make sense of things and learning to establish new ways of living.
It all started with the opening of the Sunday Morning paper and encountering the specific and familiar smell of ad's. Sunday morning ad's. I remember as a kid my sister's and I would sit outside on our screened in porch facing the old barn/garage and clip coupons for my mom from these ad's. Ad's for lunch meat, cheese, dressings, shampoos & soaps, detergent & toothpaste. So many coupons. So many ads from Kroger to Meijer, Target to Wal-Mart, Best Buy to Staples. So many ads for so much stuff.
My friend Erin wrote on her blog recently about her introduction back home (Australia) and the shock of walking through the isle's of a local supermarket and being given such a large selection of mayonnaise. Like Erin, I have been overwhelmed with the mass number of selections available for anything I could ever possibly want and/or need.
In search of a GPS for a friend living overseas we found our way to the electronics section of Wal-Mart yesterday to ask if they sold any hand-held simple GPS units. As we made our way toward the back of the store I was overcome with the number of DVDs for sale, radios to choose from & CDs released. What really stuck me though was the number of TVs. I think I was immune to this circus of parading images surrounding me every time I went shopping before. But for some reason, now it's different. No wonder we're now in an age of limited attention spans. TVs of all shapes, sizes, depths and pixels are available everywhere and scream from up above (at least in Wal-Mart) for my attention. Without even noticing I found myself standing still, eyes pasted until Jake came back from talking with a customer assistant and told me they only sold car GPS units (yes, they are of coarse completely different items - like Cheerios are to Toasted Oats!) and we left.
Speaking of cereals, as we were heading out of Target (still looking for those darn hand held GPSs) I made the mistake of carrying myself down the cereal isle (crap - was that Target of Wal-Mart, I can't remember), and I do mean "carry" because that's exactly what Jake had to do to me as I became overwhelmed with the vast number of selections available for our favorite (well, my favorite) breakfast meal. Strawberry Mini-Wheats! Who knew? I couldn't help but long for the days in India where porridge was our morning cereal selection and bananas were the only topping available. Sure, Jake and I both dreamed at times of sprinkling blueberries on our porridge, but we were always grateful and deeply enjoyed the bananas. Really, how many selections of cereal are necessary and how uncomfortable and/or angry would I get if "they" (whoever "they" are) decided that only 20 particular cereals were necessary and stopped producing the rest? I hate to say it, but if they decided to discontinue the production of Bran Flakes, I think I would be angry. That's sad to me.
(note: I just took a break to make-out with my lovely husband, it was delightful.)
So I just got a hair cut (thank you mother-in-law) for the first time this year. It's short once again and so light. So with new sensitivity towards my hair, as we were walking down the isle (of where, I have no clue - there are running together in my mind now) I noticed the brand new bottles for both Suave and Herbal Essence shampoos! There so beautiful & sleak, colorful & catching, I was a sucker. Not only for the new look for the the vast selections of smells and hair type specific shampoos available. Flat, curly, blonde, brown (did you know they have a shampoo out for only brunettes?), cucumber-melon, strawberry, spit-end, dry, oily - it's all there. In India, for the average citizen, there are a few selections of shampoos to choose from. Most in single use packets, few in bottles. But at the most, a selection of 5-8 would be average to choose from. And still I wonder the same of shampoos as I do of cereals. Is this all really necessary? If not, how disappointed would I be if they discontinued the cheap Lavender Suave I like and decided to only sell the $5.00 a bottle fancy Vidal Sassoon?
Ads, TVs, Cereals & Shampoos. I'm really being challenged since coming back to the States how much of what began to be second nature to me is really necessary in life. How much is luxury? How much is needed to truly live and love others through Christ? I'll attempt my best to taper down on these entries, I promise. In the meantime though, thank you for living through this transition with us. We appreciate it/you.