Sunday, January 9, 2011

Scarcity Cats

Here in the south, the threat of the slightest frozen precipitation causes a Pavlovian response.  We race to the nearest grocery store for what we perceive are the bare essentials.  These typically include milk, bread, and eggs as, apparently, when snowed in all Southerners choose to survive on repeated meals of french toast.

I'm no stranger to this.  I tend to go through our house, doing an inventory of what we need on-hand to survive even the mildest of hazardous squalls.  And yes, I was one of those sad morons in the express lane yesterday, trying to rationalize that I had to be there, because three rolls of toilet paper wouldn't see my family through Wednesday.  (I don't apologize for this hypothesis, by the way).

However, I really do marvel at our sense of 'gotta have'.  If we'd been low on coffee, for instance, I would've been at Dancing Goats or Starbucks the moment I heard there was a significant chance of sticky precipitation.  And I plan to have my Blackberry, I-Pod, and MacBook fully charged in case we do lose power for any length of time.  Somehow, I don't feel like the rugged pioneer that Charles Ingalls was when he chopped firewood and tracked deer to provide for all of his Little Housers when the gales of December knocked at their door.  He was staving off frostbite and death, I'm just looking for a backup plan to check email and listen to Radiohead.

Now, business-wise, I've always been one of those people who believed 'the pie is big enough'.  I trust that there's enough work out there for me and those like me, you just have to work to find it.  Be resourceful enough to find it, hard working and talented enough to keep it.  Even when the recession was at its ugliest, I think I maintained a solid sense of equanimity and openness.  But, when it comes to running out of java or losing power during an ice storm, well, I turn into quite a Me Monkey.

I share this openly because I know I am not alone here. It's human nature to want to hunt and gather when there's a sense of scarcity, even of that hunting and gathering means standing in line in your PJs and slippers at Publix at midnight to be sure you have your favorite bottle of wine, can of soup, or in my case, two-ply Charmin.

Yet, I hardly think this mentality is in keeping with a healthy mindset.  Whether it was Jesus doing a Kriss Angel routine with loaves and trout, or the Buddhist belief that, quite often, having less will make you more  -  more generous, more grateful, more present - life always seems to provide us more than enough.  And then of course, I think it was a British philosopher from the mid-20th century who taught us that, "if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need."

Now, that said, there are plenty of unfortunate souls that don't have enough.  I'm not making light of that. In fact, I think a big reason we are here is to change that dynamic.  My point is that for those of us who have easy access to a blog post on a Sunday afternoon, well, you're probably doing alright.  Even if you think you aren't.

So what is it that makes us always crave more?  Do we ever hit that wall where we say, "Enough"?   Can we pare down our bookshelf,  purge our attic,  trim down our Facebook friends cache?  I know it's one of the biggest challenges I wrestle with.  If Wendy could keep me off of Amazon.com and I-Tunes, I think we'd be set for retirement.  But, I gotta have...just...one....more.   (Though I will say it takes over 60 songs on I-Tunes to compete with one pair of cute shoes she's 'just gotta have'.)

So, what are your 'gotta have' demons, be it during a snowstorm or a half-price sale?  What do you tell yourself you can't live without?

Gotta scoot.  Storm's coming and we've only got a half bag of Tostitos left.

1 comment:

Missyates said...

SHOES. Bless you, Wendy, I feel your need.