How prosperity has overshadowed our values and beliefs
she’s from serbia, and her accent is thick though she’s been here for 8 years, and knows our pop culture inside out. perhaps because she’s an artist painting and observing and expressing and all that. a foil for her petroleum-employed husband, planted in calgary to get the oil but not to get the thoughts out.
her unique pack after work is from a flea market, well not actually a ‘flea’ market, a market when she visited back home over the summer: an endless stretch of street somewhere in serbia, an open air market, where new things are sold by the people who own the space, not by weekend folks trying to supplement an income. market, not ‘super’ market, not a market ‘mall’, not a trendy ‘market’ wherein the rent boosts prices into the upper crust buying range.
it has seemed that our systems are changing in the past decades, away from the universal super opulence of my parents, to the inconsistent opulence of the widening north american gulf. i’m interested that we are rich enough to support whole communities on our garbage, whole industries on our cast-off recyclables; and as the wealth continues to accumulate in fewer and fewer hands (as the commies would have us believe)
i wonder if the consumption patterns are returning to the old world states where people transfer goods without the material trappings with which we have become so acclimatized — bright, beautiful temperature-controlled stores/malls — or at least dividing between those who drive through the suburban parking lots on weekends looking for a spot by the chapters with the starbucks, and those who frequent liquidators, wholesalers, bargain/dollar/discount shops out of need.
of course, i meet my friend in the peasant-like confines of a partitioned office, co-workers facing each other over small cubicles, phoning other cities, provinces, countries, to amass wealth for the owner: toiling in the field for the landowner’, gathering information like grain.
this woman leaves the disintegrating conflict between serbia and croatia in 1992, moves to canada, and tells me in calgary last week she feels she has no voice here. occasionally i laugh about it.