Never Enough

Posted: January 22, 2011 in AZ, Personal

One of my favorite comedy stand up acts of all time is from back in the day by George Carlin and his routine about stuff. It always reminds me of just how much crap we have.  As Americans we are overrun by stuff and all that stuff started to accumulate back in the 1960’s .  The ads that made us want to start buying that stuff started in the 1950’s (if you don’t believe me watch AMC’s Emmy Award winning series, Mad Men, a personal fav of mine).  Anyway, those ads in the 195o’s and the long period of prosperity following WWII, allowed Americans to buy a lot more stuff….stuff that we didn’t necessarily need but we started thinking we did.

Another reason the 1950’s is important is because my current home, was built in 1958.  I have a ranch style 15oo sq. ft home in Central Phoenix.  We have a total of three bedrooms, each with a closet.  There are two small closets in the hallway and one coat closet.  Of those hall closets, one was recovered from an old water heater that was removed.  So, we really can say that when the house was built….it had a total of 5 small closets. 

My bedroom closet is not in any way  big enough to hold all of my clothes plus my husbands.  Much less other stuff that one would normally put into a closet such as shoes, belts, hats, gun storage, etc.  My children’s closets aren’t big enough to hold their clothes and stuff.  I should also mention that there is no basement because Phoenix soil isn’t conducive to basements, so this house is sans basement.  So where does one store stuff long term, like boxes of photos, your wedding dress, your Holiday decorations…you know the crap you accumulate over a lifetime. 

You might think you could use the attic.  Well, another thing about Phoenix is that during the Summer it routinely gets over 100 degree.  On some days it can top out at 115 to 120 degrees.  With those ambient temperatures in the attic it reaches 150 to 160 degrees.  Very few things survive such temperatures.  Your Christmas candles won’t survive a single season of those temps much less other things that you want to preserve.

Beyond the stuff accumulated over a lifetime, we now have bulk item stores like Costco and Sams.  Today if I buy Toilet Paper, I dont’ get six rolls, I get 24 or 48 rolls at a time.  Paper  towels  in bulk.  Kitty litter, cat food, canned vegetables, cereal, and on and on and on.  Where the hell do you put all that stuff? 

Modern homes have tons of more closet space.  My last home was 2500 sq. feet. It had a walk in closet that was as large as the bathroom for the master suite.  Each bedroom had a regular sized bedroom closet. There was a towel closet upstairs, a coat closet downstairs, a closed garage, and a walk-in closet underneath the stairs that was the size of a  small room.  Modern homes are built for our stuff.  They’re built for people who shop at bulk stores.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live without even the house I now have.  If we had to “live wild” (that’s what I call it)….how much work would it take to grow the vegetables I can buy in 5 minutes.  How much work would it be to make paper from trees in order to equal the tp, the paper towels, the writing paper that I use in a single day?  How much  time would it take to care for the animals, butcher them and prepare them for eating and storage (because you can’t eat an entire pig or cow in one day and you don’t have a freezer or refridgeratior) that I eat in one day?  Can you imagine not having stuff?  Can you?  Do you know what it would mean?

We have too much stuff in America.  We don’t need it but we want it.  In many ways it makes our lives easier and saves us time.  With that time, we do things like blogging.  I’m very grateful that it’s 2011, that I live in America, and I have the spare time to write, the freedom to express myself and the sense of humor to make fun of stuff.  So even though I don’t have enough closet space for my stuff, that’s okay.  I’m lucky to have stuff  for which I actually need more space.

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