For me it feels like looking down and seeing for the first time that I’m standing on a minuscule ledge at a dizzying vertical height, and the only thing supporting my weight is the misery and degradation of almost everyone else on earth. And I always end up thinking: I don’t even want to be up here. I don’t need all these cheap clothes and imported foods and plastic containers, I don’t even think they improve my life. They just create waste and make me unhappy anyway. (Not that I’m comparing my dissatisfaction to the misery of actually oppressed peoples, I just mean that the lifestyle they sustain for us is not even satisfying, in my opinion.) People think that socialism is sustained by force – the forcible expropriation of property – but I wish they would just admit that capitalism is also sustained by exactly the same force in the opposite direction, the forcible protection of existing property arrangements.
Sally Rooney (from: Beautiful World, Where Are You)
The last time I have been inside a supermarket was back in July for extra cream when I ran out of it making R's birthday cake (and before that maybe some time in early 2020). I remember that day in July because, unknowingly, I had an infection that required a trip to A&E on the weekend, but there in the air conditioned shopping paradise, I thought I was simply overwhelmed by the variety of cream options. It's not as if I haven't been shopping since, but going to a shop, any shop, has definitely lost all its appeal. Thanks to covid. Not that it had much appeal before. I once fell out with a distant friend, briefly, because she insisted on us spending a day, or maybe an afternoon, I forget, browsing shops and when I realised it was not book shops and that she in fact refused to spend ages waiting for me to finish reading, which apparently is not what you are meant to do in a book shop, she had a bit of a fit and we parted ways for a while, she browsing for whatever and me reading on, before meeting up in a delightful cafe to catch up on old times.
In our pandemic world here, we have been spending money and feeding the economy, but just not as much. Instead, we have lists for a few delivery and/or online shops. Occasionally, I cycle to the library to return/pick up my online loans. In two years, we filled up the petrol tank exactly three times.
I miss a few things, goodness yes I do, none of them do to with visiting shops. A while ago, I listened to a zoom talk about inner cities after the pandemic and alternatives to shopping streets and malls and living centers with children and dogs and trees and actual life. What a wonderful dream.