Take My Dollars and Stay Home

It’s a slow week, but I like it this way. The Iowa winter so far seems undecided between dumping significant snow, or raining and thawing, or plunging below zero at night. I still have a crest of crusty snow on the car, my badge of not having a garage on the property.

At the parish, the students are long gone. Many parishioners are off visiting for the holidays. About half the staff has taken the week off. I got an amazing amount of stuff done today in a very quiet office.

I was reading about the renewal of the encroachment on civil liberties masquerading as beefed-up airline security. No wonder the feds are spinning the news on Detroit’s flame-out like diocesan PR people. The system “worked,” or maybe it didn’t; but we’re going to insist on some silly rules to further alienate air passengers.

Or maybe they’re trying to force the air traffic industry into bankruptcy. I wonder how often a traveller, when requested to do something ridiculous, just tells the airport people to forget it and turns around and goes home.

Even if I had the extra money to fly somewhere, I have to ask myself: why would I bother? Do I need to travel back in time to the first grade and pay for the privilege of enduring juvenile rules? I don’t think so. We haven’t been able to afford a big family vacation in more than three years–the last time I saw most of my family in one place at one time.

On the plus side, I can and do call my mother or siblings just about any night of the week. I probably chat with my mom more often today than in the years when I was in grad school and lived in the same city. Don’t tell my mom, but who needs a vacation? Suppose we all stopped flying? I think my mom, my cell phone, and I could outlast the airline industry. If we turned that into several million cell phone users and their parents, I know we could. Personally, I think liberties are more valuable than bureaucracies and the businesses that prop them up.

In reality, it is a tough choice, I have to concede. Another excuse to put people out of work and not rehire them. The decade of the Big Zero sees one in five (about, probably) Americans un/underemployed. Maybe we should just concentrate our selective non-consumerism on businesses large and small that haven’t hired people, or worse, have let them go.

We did our best last year. When my wife was seriously ill last Fall, we brought in a housekeeper twice a month to keep things tidy at home. After about three months, it was just too much. I didn’t have the funds in the checking account to pay her the last week before payday.

So meanwhile, I’ve just stopped spending. Haven’t rented a movie in almost two years. The public library has more than enough to borrow. Reading books is good. If my wife didn’t have serious favorites on tv, I’d consider ditching cable altogether and hook up the internet to the tv for entertainment.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Commentary. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Take My Dollars and Stay Home

  1. Anne says:

    Cell phones are indeed great to keep in touch but some of us need to see (there’s always Skype I suppose) and hug those we love. Some of our jobs depend on air travel. An emergency situation will sometimes arise when we are forced to travel by plane. I don’t like some of the security measures but will have to abide by them. Sorry, I have resigned myself to the fact that today those rules that are “silly” and annoying are necessary ones.

    We do spend less on books these days. My husband and I visit the library more often now than we ever did. I also look for deals on used books on Amazon etc.
    Re renting videos…library or Red Box ($1)

  2. Liam says:

    I have only done non-business flying once since 9/11, five years ago. I flew a few times for business in 2005 and 2006, but haven’t since.

    I detest flying. Not because of fears, but because the process is costlier than the benefits. I never flew until I was 25, and got to do my major traveling that required flying in the next dozen years. I found that the treatment of passengers declined, and that as I aged I became more vulnerable to sinusitus after the compression that comes from flying, plus increasing discomfort in the increased waiting and the declining quality of seating, et cet.

    I have pretty much given up on flying any significant distance except as required for a job (right now, my self-employment does not require it, which is great), and my friends and family know that.

  3. Todd, I quite agree with your thoughts on flying. Maybe Americans will finally wake up and realize that living in fear is no way to live. But for the time being, “security” seems to be the most popular false God, and as long as the sheeple are willing to put up with the indignities foisted on them by the TSA, this garbage will continue.

    And, in the current climate of paranoia, can anyone seriously say that we’re winning the so-called “War on Terror”?

  4. Rae says:

    I think that cellphones are a poor replacement for being with family in person, but I hate flying. I would much rather drive and stay for months. Not that that will happen…

  5. Jimmy Mac says:

    I am sick and tired of being inconvenienced when I want to fly and take everything I own on board with me and jammed wherever.

    Oh, yes, if something happens to me while flying I’ll sue the butts off’n the airline, their insurance company, their grandparents and anyone else I can blame for not inconveniencing me enough in this particular case.

    What’s the old expression about wanting one’s cake and being able to eat it, too?

  6. Harry says:

    How about not denigrating the work of diocesan directors of communication by calling them “PR people” and dismissing their work as “spinning the news.”

    Believe it or not, the vast majority of communication directors are dedicated people who work hard, just like liturgy people at college campus parishes.

  7. Todd says:

    Thanks for the comment, Harry. You are 100% right. I offer an unconditional apology for my thoughtless remark.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s