I was talking to someone today about I sometimes feel like I lead a very sheltered life, and I'd like to do something to change it. She pointed out that I don't really have a leg to stand on here, since I've got a mild aversion to actually going places and doing things. It's true: given a choice, I'd generally rather stay home more often than not. There's a few reasons for this: I really like stories, which are generally stationary things; I come from a pretty sedentary small town, and staying in is habit-forming; and, in my defense, my apartment is pretty awesome.
Presumably, though, the question was still weighing heavy on my mind when I went to bed a few hours ago, because I think it's behind one of my dreams. I'm attending some sort of Farmer's Market with my parents, and I'm stopped at the entrance: I need to pay the entry fee. I shout ahead to my parents, because I thought they were paying for me. They were not. I ask how much the fee is, and I'm told $9. Upon hearing this, I get so frustrated I wake up.
First, $9 for entering an outdoors farmer's market? That's ridiculous. And the reason I was upset was because $9 was all I had brought with me, so I'd have nothing left for the actual market. And why did the woman at the till ask for an amount that just happened to be all the money I was carrying? Clearly, there were some shenanigans going on there. I'm not saying she was a con woman, but the possibility was there.
But what the dream really illuminated for me is a simple mental truth: I resent paying money for experiences. That includes movie theaters, live concerts, even plays. Why should I pay money for a sensory experience that leads to a corresponding mental shift when I can accomplish an infinite variety of the same for free? Going places costs money. Having a place to stay costs too, but at least you get a place to stay. To a lesser extent, the same holds true for services, which is why I currently resemble Cousin It in terms of hairstyle.
What I really want for my money is a nice, material product. It can be a one-use consumable, but the physicality is important. I'm not sure what that says about me. Is this a weird category of visible capitalism? A search for the tangible? Or am I just really cheap? Something to think about, I guess.
BONUS DREAM: While that dream led to disturbing conclusions, it wasn't that disturbing in itself. Here's one that is.
Back in my high school days, our classroom had one girl who rather enjoyed being verbally negative, if not downright abusive. As one classmate claimed, she was basically this way with everybody, but as a sensitive young fellow, I always thought she was especially so with me. In this dream, I'm back in school and receiving a verbal lashing from said girl. So far, so normal. The difference is that she's really upset--she's getting increasingly frustrated that *I* keep driving her to these extremes with my actions. And everyone around her agrees--in fact, they're getting upset with me for upsetting her, and keep telling me to lay off. This, as you might imagine, gets me upset. I'm about to let loose with a few decades of pent-up resentment when...
She turns into a submarine sandwich.
Now, in that weird way that dreams work, I know, I know, inside that dream, that she did this purely to spite me. (Pause for a moment to let that sink in. She turned into a sandwich out of spite.) So I get even more enraged. And what does an angry man do to a sandwich? Well, I try to eat it. I do try. But I just can't bring myself to do it. So I do the next best thing, and tear the sandwich to pieces. Chunks of tomato and lettuce go flying. There's bread crumbs everywhere. You don't even want to KNOW what happened to the mustard. Once it's done, I look up, and the rest of the class is staring at me, absolutely appalled.
And then I wake up.
Analyze THAT, Sigmund Freud.