Greetings from Florida. I’m pleased to report that once again we have arrived safely. And once again I find myself surrounded by all of the suitcases and boxes of clothing that now require unpacking and stacking back into the closets and drawers. Each year as we make this transition I vow I will do better, be smarter, bring less, buy less. But all my promises seem to go the way of New Year’s resolutions. If I needed any further proof that I’m a complete failure at minimalism, here’s an essay that I posted two years ago, on this very topic. Sadly, nothing has changed.
Friends – even if you are one of those people who claim to be only vaguely interested in television, and swear that you watch only PBS soap operas, British spy movies, The History Channel, or Bloomberg Business, you must be aware that the new season is upon us. I, for one, am an unabashed TV viewer, and I confess this with the same courage with which I owned up to my Cool Whip addiction. I do not ask for forgiveness.
As devoted as I am to police dramas, post-mortem dissections, and Jeopardy, I have so far failed to understand the public’s attraction to Reality TV. I have experienced it at least enough to decide that even five minutes is four minutes too long. I find Honey Boo-Boo exactly that, and if I had watched the Kardashian daughters when I was in my child-bearing years, I probably would have run to my ob-gyn demanding to have my tubes tied.
Twice a year I am forced to confront a terrible truth. The catalyst for the reckoning happens to be bi-latitudinal (if there is such a word!) living. I migrate, like the birds, south in the winter and north in the summer. Unlike the birds, who seem to have mastered the art of traveling light, I transport boxes and suitcases full of spring-and-summer weight clothing from one location to the other. The foreplay to the actual packing involves opening the door to the closet, staring at the contents in horror, and saying to myself, “how did I get so much stuff?”
It is at that instant when I must face up to the fact that I am a recreational shopper! (What woman does not have her own moment of reckoning?) Not quite as bad as being a shopaholic, but almost. And…it’s a slippery slope.
After all, how many adorable tops or pairs of pants or smart shoes does one person actually need? Did I say “need?” To a recreational shopper, “need” is a four-letter word. As those of us who fall into this category readily recognize, “need” has absolutely nothing to do with it.