Friday, February 17, 2012

The Gospel of the all mighty dollar

Poverty blows. How do i write a rant on capitalism without coming off as some disgruntled overeducated, up my own ass whiny white privileged pot head. Oh wait.. I am all of the above, so I guess it is impossible. The pot head part is perhaps on hiatus, but it will return no doubt once the creeping anxiety ends. The anxiety will stop once the poverty ends. Ah endless circles of catch 22s.

I met a girl once at a party I threw. She was a standup comedian and I instantly crushed on her. I love a girl in a tie and caustic wit. We escaped outside to flirt and banter. We talked about a lot of things, but mostly we talked about feeling anxious and depressed and sex and open relationships. It was very hard not to kiss her. I remember one thing though.. when presented with the question "WHY?" As in why were we so fucked up as a culture, why were our relationships so difficult, why were we so depressed and anxious. I blurted out one word... Capitalism.

I used to make some money, not tons, but enough to own a car, take a vacation, buy stupid new electronics for my husband and order in Thai food when I was feeling lazy. I was not happy back then. I would go to my desk, answer my email, hawk the souls of my artists to advertising agencies and then go home tired and deflated to watch the television sell me stuff. I came to the conclusion that none of it made sense. They way we have turned money into god. Money buys you freedom, money buys you time, money buys you health, money buys you.

It is no wonder so many people are unhappy and anxious. Disembodied. We work to make money so that we can afford to buy time where we don't have to work to make money. The concept of saving for retirement is in itself soul destroying. Here, sacrifice your present so that one day when you are too old and tired to keep doing this thing that you hate you might be able to take a cruise to Alaska and play bridge with your pals. If you don't make this money now and save it in make-believe investments, then beware of your inevitable fate of spam eating and elder abuse.

I know I sound harsh, but I blame it on the likes of Stephen Harper and the rest of his criminal neo con gang. They have embittered me in this domain with their slashing of communities. I opted out. I decided to stop selling art and start massaging bodies. One person at a time, with my full concentration. I decided to work for pleasure, and helping and present moments, rather than pipe dreams of Nike commercials. So now I am poor and being poor is hard, because I cannot afford to buy time.

So what does crushing on a cute comedienne have to do with capitalism? Nothing really. She was on my mind tonight and it was the last time capitalism really made me laugh. Truth be told, I am not quite so bitter or downtrodden. I think of my clients as the travel I cannot afford. Their stories take me places. My financial advisor told me once that I would have to save 30k a year if I wanted to retire, so I opted out of worrying about it. I learned to do a lot with Spam when I was in Australia. I have instead opted into living in the present, shopping only for my basic needs, trading in buying new clothing and gadgets, for conversations and hugs. Sometimes my gas bill scares me, like right now in the middle of February, but I am happier. I am happier being an atheist who does not buy in to the gospel that money sets you free. Nothing is free in capitalism.

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