America’s Favorite Pastime

I remember hearing when I was kid that baseball was our favorite pastime. Maybe that just means I am old.

But my age is not what my concern is here. It is our favorite pastime. Coming home to U.S. has been an eye opener. What do I see families doing together? What do friends get together to do? What do people who need an afternoon just for themselves decide on?

In my idealistic and romantic mind, I come up with many charming and fun possibilities: going hiking in the mountains; sitting at a little cafe and chatting and watching the world go by, going to see a neat little foreign film at the indie theater then splurging on a piece of chocolate cake at the bakery next door; going for a long bike ride in the park.

I realise that 1. many people still do these things, and 2. that I have watched way to many old movies.

But even though these things all still take place, I feel there is a huge monster looming over them, threatening to stomp them out like the embers of a campfire. So can you guess what this monster is? What is U.S. American’s all time favorite pastime?


I have lived in several towns in the U.S. where all there is to do is shop. And have you noticed that all towns are starting to look more and more alike? They all have the big box stores crowded soullessly around a main road.

What do people do when they are bored or eager for fun or just want to get out? They go shopping. All the time. Even when they don’t need anything, even when they are exhausted. Shop, shop, shop, shop. Have we all become shopping zombies?

I can’t help but feeling that this current mindset really keeps people in their place. We work a crappy job, make just enough money to go out and buy crap we really don’t need, then go home and watch tv because we are so tired from working and shopping. Sounds super fun when I put it like that, huh?

We do not spend our money on things to enrich our lives in any way. A shirt and pants hardly contribute to better life quality. Are we so brainwashed that we actually think pointless crap makes our lives better somehow? I am starting to wish people acted like they did in the old movies I love so much… I am bored of the house, honey. Let’s go take a drive to the coast! Or maybe We have been working way too hard, let’s take the family to the park! Anything seems better that driving to the nearest shopping mall and spending my pitiful, hard-earned salary on a shirt that will look shabby after 3 washes.

What would the world be like if we spent our money on life-enriching and relationship-strengthening activities? If we actually did things together that did not involve handing our hard-earned cash over to a poorly paid shop clerk? Think of what we could do with all that extra money!!!

What would our lives be like? I am thinking they would be a whole lot better.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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