Music: Neko Case
I am currently working behind the concession stand at a movie theatre for minimum wage. I have worked in movie theatres for years now, but since I began working at this one, I have been disgusted by the consumption. A customer comes in and purchases a ticket for a movie made by committee somewhere in Hollywood, cursing the exorbitant price they have to pay to see something they will forget in a few hours. Then they waddle their way over to the concession stand, and I chirpily ask them what I can get for them. They look up at the menu board, squinting and thinking hard about how to waste their money on the toxic food products we have available to choose from. After much deliberation, they choose some combination of soda, popcorn, candy or processed meat, and they hand over their money. They know the prices are severely marked up, that the food is bad for them, but they bought it anyway, because they're supposed to.
They go in and watch the movie, and afterwards I go in and clean up after them. So few of them actually take the time to put their garbage into a garbage can. The way they leave the trash strewn about leads me to believe that either they are completely oblivious or they enjoy the fact that it is somehow socially acceptable to act like a pig at a movie theatre. I don't know which one is worse. At the end of the day, the trash from over 40 performances of these movies goes into the dumpster and deposited in a landfill somewhere.
I've watched this go on for years but it has never bothered me before like it does now. What is it that is different? In a lot of respects, I feel like I have seen the error of my ways. For so many years, I was a good little consumer. When I was a kid, I watched TV and bought the toys I saw on there with my allowance money. When I got my paper route, I bought comics and punk rock tapes. When I was in college, I bought beer and CDs. When I got out of college, it was pretty much the same thing. Sure I saved some money and paid my credit cards every month, but I was still casually consuming whatever it was that I felt I needed. Even my politics to a certain extent was apologism for all this consumption.
So maybe after all that, here I am, working a minimum wage job serving other jerks until I can find a "real job" that pays me enough to actually cover my bills. All I have is the stuff I have. I can't afford anything but food, gas, bills (barely) and some vodka. It has finally sunk in. I don't need much. So why did I used to buy all this stuff I have now? Am I nothing but a collection of consumer impressions? Why do I have random snippets of old commercials run through my head at inopportune moments? Was I making conscious decisions or was I just like these people I deride after all, immersed in a life of False Slack?
I am in a state of flux right now. I moved across the country and left everything behind to pursue a dream, only to realize that it was just another illusion. So I moved to the country and I don't have a TV because I can't afford one- but I don't mind. I like where this is going.