I Heart Indies

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Things I Don't Want

I was riding back from North Carolina with Spencer and Glenn and we passed this incredible roadside display of gigantic, brightly-colored metallic roosters, giraffes, and elephants.  "I want one!" I shouted.  Of course, what I meant was, I don't want one, but the thought of wanting one, of going to the guy behind the counter and saying, "How much for the twelve-foot rooster?" was very pleasant.

Hence this blog is about some of the many things I don't want.  This is not about things I actively don't want, things I'd never even daydream about having, like a tattoo, a motorcycle, or a pet ferret.  What I'm talking about is things I actually like, that make the world a better place for their existence, but I still wouldn't want, things I'm happy for other people to have.  I understand there's a Native American custom that if you compliment a possession, the owner's supposed to hand it over to you.  I think that's a terrible custom.  When I tell someone I like a painting on his wall, I mean I like the fact you have it.

Take for example dogs.  I like dogs.  I even have one.  But I can see someone else's dog and admire it without secretly feeling jealous or wanting one of my own.  I am wonderfully content with Zoe; nevertheless, I can appreciate the good qualities of your greyhound, schnauzer, or mutt.  

It's a wonderful thing to live in a world of material possessions you don't have to possess to enjoy.  I'm not talking about clouds and sunsets or that stuff.  This isn't a kind of "best things in life are free" blog - although I don't discount that - this is about enjoying the stuff other people paid for.

Like Victorian houses.  Oh my goodness, I love looking at someone's Victorian home.  I'm really mad about spires, and porches, and towers, especially when they're done up as "painted ladies" in those wild color combinations.  But emphatically, I would never want to live in a Victorian home.  

It's the same way with classic cars.  Show me a Duselldorf or certain years of Stingrays, and I will positively drool.  Sometimes the owner will open up the hood and show you the engine is gleaming chrome.  I love those old cars.  It makes me happy to see them, and I'm grateful there are people who devote themselves to restoring and maintaining them.  I don't want one.  I don't want to be one of those people.  I'm just glad those people exist. 

Or horses.  Is there any sight more uplifting than seeing these glossy brown muscular animals sporting around in a green field, or even just cropping grass?  Would you want to actually own one?  I wouldn't.  But it makes me happy someone else has them.  I even like to see cows.  Or goats.  Goats are not something I want, and yet I smile every time I see them.  Chickens are all the livestock I need.

(You knew sooner or later, I'd get around to bragging about my chickens.)  Maybe part of the pleasure I get from my chickens is the thought of the pleasure the neighbors get from the contemplation of owning a chicken without actually having to own one.  If so, that's just an added soupcon of chicken-induced happiness.

This makes me want to go somewhere - some huge open-air market - where people bring weird and wonderful geegaws from the four corners of the world for me to wonder and delight in.  Look at all the bright and glittery things!

That I don't want.

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