Nov 23, 2011

Camping for the Future

I got a new phone.  I love it.  Dan gave it to me right before I left on the long drive to Illinois for turkey, with two kids, a decrepit old dog and a bum knee in the car. I like to think he gave it to me so that if the car broke down I could tell Siri "I need a tow truck" and she would order one up for me, like a small computerized body guard or an obedient domesticated pocket robot assistant.  The idea of domestic robots is exciting to me.  Ten years ago, I named my first robot; Algernon will never know how to do more than vacuum a room, much less tell me what a Wappy Dog is or where to locate one but he is still monumental to me.

I want to keep my new pocket assistant safe, so I decided to find a case, or as I like to think of it a tiny little toddler proof vest.  I went to Best Buy.  To my surprise, there were people in tents on the side walk.  I got excited about talking to some Occupiers; maybe they would ask me not to patronize the corporate box store, maybe they would tell me about all the things in there not made in America, or about how none of the people working inside have the leverage to negotiate decent health insurance.  As I saw the camper's smiling faces, the realization they were camping in preparation for black Friday descended.  It was the exact opposite of what I was anticipating.

I thought about it the whole time I was shopping.  Protesting campers are maced and removed from public space under the guise of safety, but these voracious consuming campers preparing days in advance to storm the gates and trample people, possibly to death, in hopes of consuming more plastic electronics assembled by impoverished children in other countries, the very same items that will later be obsolete and occupy landfills also in other countries, leaching mercury and poisons out into the dirt, washing into the ocean and riding out on the winds young developing lungs breath... these campers are welcomed. (Ok, maybe I didn't think all of that at the time, maybe I was just trying to keep a one year old from falling out of the cart and the brilliant consumerism commentary was discussed and read later on Facebook) but, while I was shopping there was the echoing question of why these campers, but not those and as a result I couldn't buy anything.  I just didn't want to.


Debbie said...

We were talking about something similar this morning. It's perfectly okay to camp out in public places if you're prepared to spend money, but not if you are trying to spark a reform of our corrupt and unsustainable system.

Jenny said...

Oh cripes, wait until you read what happened today!