Thursday, September 9, 2010

On "Stuff" and the stories we tell ourselves

So, there's this Target commercial on right now. A woman picks up a hat and asks herself if she's a hat person...then proceeds to enter a lovely daydream of the kind of life she'd have if she were a hat person. She's strolling in an orchard, has a handsome husband and perfect children. Then she snaps back to reality, checks the price on the hat, and decides she's totally a hat person.

I love this commercial, because it really does just point out and make obvious what most commercials only hint at or even try to disguise under marketing jargon...when we shop, what we're really buying isn't the hat, or the shoes, or the expensive cast-iron cookware. What we're buying is the story we tell ourselves about what our lives would be like if we were the sort of people who owned that retro-style red cloche or those fashionista heels or that dutch oven in the perfect shade of peacock blue.

And as much as I realize how silly it is to fill our lives with useless junk in the pursuit of some idealized vision of ourselves...instead of, you know, actually working on ACHIEVING that vision the hard way, through introspection, personal challenges, and a willingness to take risks...I'm just as guilty of it myself.

In, yes, Target, just the other day, I picked up a grey-and-black woolly shawl decorated with a swirling pattern reminiscent of paisley. I put it on, marveling at the sheer coziness...and was immediately swept into a vision of myself, wrapped in the shawl to ward off the crisp chill of fall, wandering through a local harvest festival with the smell of woodsmoke and dried leaves in the air and a mug of hot apple cider wrapped between my hands. It was a perfect vision of all that is best about autumn, all things considered. And in that vision, I was lovely and bohemian in my warm and cozy shawl, a vintage film camera hanging from my neck and my handsome husband at my side. I snapped back to reality and checked the price tag.

And yes, reader. I decided I'm totally a shawl person. Touché , Target. Touché.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, my dear!

    You're a fabulous writer! It's true about buying things. Every time I purchase a new item, I usually find myself daydreaming, "This will change my life."


    Best wishes from one blogger to another,