Thursday, March 3, 2016

Shopping on Wall Street

in Bend, Oregon, that is 

My travel buddy is officially worried.  He had hoped Bend, Oregon, would be a place where he could drop me off for the day while skiing Mt. Bachelor.  After all, there are lots of boutiques, wine tasting rooms, restaurants and breweries in downtown Bend.  I'd be happy; he'd be happy.


It's not that I didn't enjoy the window shopping or the beer tasting at Deschutes Brewery; I did.  It's just that Bend itself gave me the creeps.  I had one too many Porsches and BMW's honk at me as I tootled along in my dusty old van.  I felt like I was back in Santa Barbara with all those yuppified millionaires.  But when I drove by a sparkling new gated community with ginormous houses, the creeps turned into bona fide disgust.  This was the middle of Oregon, for god's sake.  What was going on?
"It's the internet.  Everyone is setting up business in their homes," one shopkeeper said when I complained about the traffic and lack of parking.  "And they're moving up here from California.  Bringing their big cars and big egos with them."

I suddenly got quiet.

It was conspicuous consumption that drove us out of Santa Barbara in the first place.  We chose, however, a remote area of Oregon, not a city or a mid-sized town to put down new roots.  But even so, I felt guilty being part of this influx of undesirables.
When I met up with my travel buddy later in the day without one single shopping bag on my arm, he knew his plan had backfired.  "You know, it's okay to spend a little money.  You don't have to go cold turkey.  I know how much you love clothes."  The poor guy looked really worried.

I admit I looked longingly at Mimi's friends, but I didn't need anything new.  I have plenty of clothes.  What I need now is solitude--time to simply enjoy the things I have, time to read and write, time to reflect on where I've been and where I'm going.  Back in Santa Barbara there were days when I was so busy, I felt I couldn't breathe.

"And it's okay if you go on these ski trips without me," I assured him.  "Seriously, I don't mind being alone."

I'm so done with Wall Street.

1 comment:

  1. That's too bad about feeling invaded/invader but I can't imagine that ANYONE would regard you as part of an influx of undesirables! Your dusty old van is keeping things real.