Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Choices

On Monday I made my semi-annual trip to Safeway. (How could that be? Yes, I really go to Safeway just twice a year. Dave is much better at grocery shopping than I am and he doesn't mind doing it. This is reason number 759 why I married well. The monotony of buying staples bores me to tears. I save my shopping for our farmer's market, which I religiously do every Saturday, Trader Joe's, and the occasional butcher or fromager. He does Costco, too, because I cannot be trusted in the book aisle.)

During said trip to Safeway I stuck to my list and emerged with just 14 things. Why? The economy. Sport shopping is out of vogue.

Our suburb is pretty insular. Sure there are FOR SALE signs on quite a few pieces of residential real estate and you just know a bunch of them are in foreclosure but the parking lot of our elementary school is still filled with gas-guzzling SUVs and women in designer duds, myself included.

However, a few weeks ago a friend confessed that she was walking away from her house. With her husband, two kids and golden retriever. This hit me hard. Someone I know is really and truly affected by this.

I want a new car. I don't really need a new car but I still want one. A year ago I figured out which one I wanted yet didn't execute because it was the same hybrid SUV that everyone else wanted. And I wasn't going to pay above the sticker price for it. Today that car is still in demand but even if it weren't, I wouldn't buy it. It just doesn't feel right.

It's about making choices right now. We're doing ski team because that's family time spent in our vacation home, where we pay the mortgage regardless of whether we use it or not. We're going to the beach over Thanksgiving because that's been planned since before the economy went south. But we're not seeing the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker this year, nor indulging our every Amazon fantasy, something we've done mindlessly in the past. One Click Ordering? My former best friend!

I did write a letter to the owner of the salon where I got taken for a colorful ride. It's been two weeks and she hasn't responded. She probably doesn't know what to say. Now I'm faced with the decision of whether to dump Alex because I disagree with his employer's business practices. (For the record, my letter was very nice, not at all like the letter I composed in my head to the colorist.)

Fortunately the Pinks are at a good age. There are so many things we can do without large-scale conspicuous consumption. The youngest ones get a weird thrill from cleaning; one washes windows, the other has a sweeping fetish. This I must capitalize on.

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