Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

March 29, 2008

Typical American?

Filed under: Uncategorized — theburts @ 7:49 am
Tags: , , ,

When other countries think about typical United States of America citizens, what do they picture? Rich business men? Hollywood stars? Tomato farmers? Well I hope it’s not the lady I saw yesterday, who is becoming increasingly common in these luxury-filled, lazy, consumerist days.

I watched as a lady returned to her Ford Excursion (the biggest SUV they make, I believe…it was basically an unarmored, gas guzzling, civilian tank) from Staples. She’d walked about 40 feet to get to her SUV. As she drove off, I noticed a cute little Jesus fish with a cross inside. She proceeded to drive approximately 30 feet, left her spot and crossed only one row of parking spots to the next isle, and parked again…this time walking another 40 feet into Petsmart.

Is it OK that this upsets me? Maybe I could just be angry at the society, or even at the religion, who’s produced lazy, wasteful consumers like this woman…rather than being frustrated with the woman itself, caught up in the middle of its genius marketing.

Then it’s also good for me to remember that I, also, lived less than perfectly yesterday. I was super busy at work, so to get a break away from work I drove to McDonald’s and ate some chicken nuggets for lunch. (I’m sorry, you guys!!!) Then, though I bought 100% recycled paper from Staples, I probably only bought it cause the package was torn and it was on sale. Ariah, how much purchasing power is that?  :)  I also forgot once again to bring my own plastic bags and let them bag me up. We’ll use them again, but we’ve got plenty already…I’m so bad about remember to take my own. So, self, instead of being mad at others for how they’re living, let’s take that plank out of our own eye first.




  1. Things like this frustrate me too. What I find even more frustrating is when the person driving the Excursion 30 feet to another parking spot is overweight and could use the exercise. This isn’t a fat bash — I could stand to use a few lbs too, but it’s the whole thing: driving short distances uses the gas, and you could use the exercise to take some of the burden off of your own body and not have to utilize the health care system, which in turn is wasteful…see where I’m going with this?

    I’m also puzzled by those who drive the big SUV to the gym to run on the treadmill. Can you not just go for a walk? Outside? In the fresh air?

    I know I”m ranting, so I’ll stop. It’s just that I don’t understand people so amazingly buying into the consumerism that is in the media. Shut the TV off, stop reading the magazines, and live YOUR life…not the one the advertisers want you to live.

    Does this officially make me old? Soon I will be yelling at kids to get off my lawn. :) (end rant)

    Comment by Sandy too — March 29, 2008 @ 9:10 am | Reply

  2. I think we americans have been spoiled and lazy and I mean to generalize… because I include myself as well. Sometime I WANT the fire of refinement to come and burn my ‘chaff’ off.

    Comment by ~Dawn — March 29, 2008 @ 10:04 am | Reply

  3. I enjoy reading your posts; you are a very thoughtful and aware person.
    I know a little bit how you feel about the woman in the Excursion b/c I used to draw conclusions about people in 1 minute, too. How do you know that the woman was leaving in her Excursion, saw PetSmart, and remembered she needed dog food, so she pulled back in? Now you are all angry with this woman, drawing coclusions about her beliefs about energy, Jesus, laziness and all she is thinking about is feeding her dog (I think everyone knows how it feels when false assumptions are made about us). I mean, she could have a sick child at home or a parent who is dying, and simply forgot about dog food b/c she has life/death on her mind, and you are making her out to be some shallow poser. That is really not fair at all. Think about it…

    Please don’t consider this an attack, just challenging you to look at this in a different light. Thank you for reading.

    Comment by Tracy — March 30, 2008 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  4. Tracy, thanks for the challenge. I think that you’re right that we need to be extremely careful when making assumptions about people. I heard a similar story (true) of a pastor at a subway station who was waiting on the train to pull up. As he was waiting, he was annoyed at a man with 2 completely uncontrolled kids being loud and getting into everything…the man wasn’t doing anything to discourage their bad behavior. Finally, fed up that the man was ignoring his unruly children, the pastor went up and asked if he could try to control his kids. The man came out of a blank stare, apologized profusely, saying he wasn’t even aware…he’d just come from the hospital where his wife, the kids’ mother, had died, so he was lost in sadness and thought. Ouch.

    I agree that we can never single out anyone to vent our anger and frustration. I’m sorry if my post came across that way. Like I said in the post, “So, self, instead of being mad at others for how they’re living, let’s take that plank out of our own eye first.”

    I do think that there’s a time to be frustrated at the actions of other people, though. Often, frustration with the status quo or with bad religion or with accepted corruption leads to people making great strides of change. It is my observation that this lady isn’t some isolated case…I’ve seen this time and time again in similar ways occur, and I can’t chalk them ALL up to possible instances that you gave. Though we can never assume anything about a person, we can look at general trends in society and become frustrated with what our society is producing. We can be sad that people don’t walk as much as they used to. And, regardless of what the circumstances were in her case, we can be reminded of things that we want to change in our own lives and spurred to living differently.

    I also want to emphasize what I said in the post about who’s really at blame…we can’t blame this woman, I can’t blame myself when I want something, and you can’t blame yourself when you overconsume and waste. Reread this sentence “Maybe I could just be angry at the society, or even at the religion, who’s produced lazy, wasteful consumers like this woman…rather than being frustrated with the woman itself, caught up in the middle of its genius marketing.”

    It’s true that the woman may not have been lazy or wasteful, and I thank you again for the reminder not to judge people.

    Any other thoughts? Thanks for contributing. I definitely don’t mean this to be a rebuttal to what you said, because you bring up excellent points.

    Comment by theburts — March 30, 2008 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

  5. I am always reminding myself to take the plank out of my own eye. I’m trying to break my wasteful habits, but there are many Christians who could look at me and find things I’m doing wrong. Our shopping bags are constantly forgotten in the car, and we drive a minivan even though we only have one child. We got the van because we were never able to fit big things in our car and kept having to ask someone else to pick things like furniture up for us. We were also concerned for our daughter’s safety in the smaller car. The woman you saw in the SUV is probably living her life the way she thinks is right. I know a lot of caring, genuine Christians who drive SUVs. I think it’s dumb, but we all have our vices. My mom has a friend you’d never guess would drive an SUV, but she does it because “it makes her feel safe.” If you’re going to drive one, that’s a pretty good reason (whether or not it’s accurate).

    I took your advice and cut my husband’s hair! I think it went quite well for a first try! (Here are pictures: http://babyfingers.blogspot.com/2008/03/my-first-home-haircut-since-1987.html) This might sound funny, but it was actually empowering. It feels good to do things for yourself. Thanks for your awesome blog!

    Comment by Jenny — March 30, 2008 @ 9:07 pm | Reply

  6. Hey,
    thats a tough call about getting angry at such wanton waste when you see it.. I personally think the health and wealth gospel has hurt Christianity so much.. I see it in some people in my church and what they believe is that God has blessed them with these wonderful things like expensive cars and vacation homes.. Its such a false gospel, but it is what a lot of people have been taught and they believe.. Why not right? If you believe that wealth is a blessing then all the more blessing right?

    I think that is something that the church is waking up from and hopefully is dropping out of.

    Comment by Jason J — April 1, 2008 @ 7:21 am | Reply

  7. Interesting post–I have to say I often get frustrated when I see things like this. Of COURSE I have many of my own environmental “faults” but when I see other people who just don’t care at all, it drives me nuts. Regarding the woman in the SUV–she may very well have many good reasons to have driven such a short distance. She may just be lazy.

    Personally, I do not like SUV’s–I loved mine when I had it (ahh, I miss you, Saturn Vue!). It was comfortable, spacious–like driving around my own little house. And it does feel safe (though they are actually quite prone to tipping onto their roofs in accidents). The thing is, is it good for other drivers? I would like to buy a very small car next, like a Toyota Yaris or Chevy Aveo. But would I survive a crash with something gigantic like a Suburban or a Hummer? Good grief, I would be crushed like a bug!

    Someone (who drove an SUV) once complained to me that they hated hybrid cars and didn’t think they should be allowed on the road because they were “too quiet” and could cause accidents because other drivers wouldn’t know they were there. Perhaps. It is sometimes hard to see out of those high, high windows and hear due to the roaring of the high powered hemi of your SUV. Just a thought.

    Comment by Joy — April 1, 2008 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  8. Your awesome. I know, that’s all I ever seem to say on here. But you are.

    Comment by Ariah Fine — April 1, 2008 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

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