Last weekend my wife and I bought some new patio chairs. The old ones are plastic and admittedly somewhat tacky, so we'll donate them somewhere or just store them. Nancy was considering repainting the chairs, but saw these nice ones at Kroger and picked them up. She needed some new chairs partly because we're also getting a new umbrella; the old one is getting really shabby and the other day fell apart and had to be repaired.
Once we got home with the new chairs, Nancy had to decide wheter to spraypaint the table black (to match the chairs) or bronze (to match the new umbrella). Finally she hit on spraypainting the new chairs bronze to match the umbrella and also to fit in better with plastic bins we keep on the patio for pool towels and floats.
I was fully on board with all this, and still am, because after all, Nancy is only trying to make our surroundings as comfortable and comodious as possible.
I am thinking just now of my great-great grandfather, who, according to legend, owned a single pair of overalls. To save these from wear, he would hang them on a nail each day while he plowed the field wearing... something less than overalls.
The story may be apocryphal and probably is, but there's no doubt Gene Hambrick - was that his name? - got by on a whole lot less than we do. Spraypainting patio furniture to match the umbrella was probably never an issue he faced. Surely he'd be happy for me. Surely he'd say he labored so that one day his great-great grandson could enjoy such opulence. Wouldn't he?
In my darker moments I can't help but feel that our lives have take an immense wrong turn, that we are trapped in an endles pursusit of stuff. Buying things. And then buying things for our other things. And buying things for them.