"Selling Out"

A couple excerpts from and commentary on articles from the online (truncated) version of The Sun magazine, which my house subscribes to (and I am so, so glad that we do. Best magazine I've ever had the privilege of reading).

I. From "Who Will Heal the Healers?"

Passaro: What are some items you’ve accepted in trade from patients [for health care]?
Wible: Dog care, carpentry, gardening, massages, cleaning services. Local artisans have donated the use of a kiln and glass-fusion classes. I donate many of these traded items to other patients in need. Then there’s the delicious homemade bread and homegrown produce. I will work for food.

YES to creative, demand-side healthcare. Also, yes to bartering, which is apparently getting more popular (check here and here). Wow. I want to live in a community! Wait, I do. But I mean, in the future.

I. From "Selling Out"

I stood in the store aisle and waited for another customer to choose his groceries and move on. I wanted no witnesses to what I was planning to do. As soon as the man left the aisle, I quickly grabbed a box of instant mashed potatoes — a store brand, the cheapest kind — and threw it into my cart.
No big deal, right? Lots of people use instant mashed potatoes. But not me. Never in my life.
I have sold out bit by bit over the years. As a new young mom, I made homemade baby food with a grinder. I always made spaghetti sauce from scratch and never opened a jar of Ragu. I made my own yogurt and even squeezed fresh limes for margaritas.
I stopped making yogurt more than a decade ago. And even though I add meat and veggies, my spaghetti sauce now comes from a jar. I drink my margaritas at Mexican restaurants, which, I am sure, use a mix.
But I love real mashed potatoes. Crossing the instant-potato line is a major milestone in my selling-out process. What’s next? Minute Rice?
Jessie Lehman
Chicago, Illinois

You know what I did the other night? I ate at McDonald's. I am a sell-out. What do you do when your values become inconvenient? Like, in the past, you barrelled ahead, unencumbered by the trappings of convenience or comfort - you baked your own bread, you shopped at farmer's markets, you rode your bike every day regardless of the rain, you eschewed the trappings of make-up. And then it started to get old. And you're too tired to go running in the morning, and those crow's feet are getting more distinct, and gosh, it's really raining hard today.

I'm not there yet, and I say yet, because I'm getting there and I can see it coming and I'm already disappointed in myself. I have some values. I have some "alternative/radical" lifestyle choices that are "inconvenient" but I'm not at the stage where I need convenience, yet, but I know I will, do you know what I mean? And of course, my life could be a lot more inconvenient. I could wash my clothes by hand, I could ride my bike everywhere, not just to places in a few mile radius, I could quit eating at freaking McDonalds.

How did I get into that drive-thru? Is the only reason it's been so long because there aren't any fast food places in my neighborhood? I was down by the mall. It was available. Isn't the number one predictor of whether one will give in to temptation simply the availability of their vice? And, granted, I didn't get a hamburger or something, but I know those french fries and that McFlurry were nowhere near the "spectrum," I guess, of foods I  consider... um... acceptable? Something like that.

I don't know. I feel the same way every time I smoke a cigar (quitting, full-time, cold-turkey, today! No more pussyfooting with caveats and such. Wish me luck); I'm betraying myself. I can't afford them, money-wise or health-wise. Every time I hit the snooze button on my alarm, or sit around doing a crossword in the morning (well, not every time, I really enjoy crosswords) or, say, sit around in the evening, instead of going out for a run or something... Every time I eat at McDonalds, or buy some candy or whatever at the gas station, or put my clothes in the clothes dryer, or take a second shower of the day, or sit at work on facebook or blogging (like right now, though it's sort of my lunch break)...

I feel like a sell-out.

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