A brain full of stuff

Rummaging through my thoughts to come up with something to write about tonight, I started to come to the conclusion that I spend way too much time thinking about products I would like to buy.

A lot of this seems to be stemming from the laptop thing. That’s something I’d been thinking about for well over a year. Realizing that what I’d decided I’d wanted wasn’t actually what I wanted shook the pedestal a bit, and right now my brain, as represented by a metaphorical glass vase, is wobbling, attempting to right itself. In the process of wobbling, I’m questioning why it is I care about this crap as much as I do.

The laptop isn’t the only thing, either. Home theatre setups, server hardware, Doctor Who merchandise, computer monitors, furniture, blinds, gardening tools, outdoor lighting, books, video game hardware and software, kitchen gadgets, Christmas decorations, art, music, toiletries, cat paraphernalia, clothes, MP3 players, gadgets and toys… They all swirl around my subconscious in a maddening whirlwind of debates and comparisons, priorities and time lines.

For example, I noticed in the Radio Shack The Source flyer that they had a sale on GPSes, and that they had some nice Garmin handhelds for better prices than I’d seen elsewhere. I love maps and things, and GPSes are fun toys. I chickened out from buying one at the mall today because I wasn’t sure if it could keep track of where you’ve been so you can check out your route in Google Earth afterwards. Because, for some reason, I’d much rather just go out for a walk or a drive somewhere without knowing where I was going and see the map afterwards than use a GPS to figure out where to go in the first place. I checked the manual online, and apparently it can do that. Regardless, even though I could almost certainly live a happy and fulfilling life without one, I really want one of these toys. I’m holding myself back from hitting the “add to cart” button at this very instant.

I am a well-trained consumer, I suppose. The only way I’d be better trained is if I just went out and bought all of it without thinking, so I suppose this obsessiveness is a form of restraint.

I beat myself up a bit for spending so much mental energy on silly, single-minded consumerism, but I get stuck when I try to give myself things I should be thinking about.

There was, I think, a Tapestry episode, where a guy was talking about how we spend so much time fixated on collecting stuff and not nearly enough on collecting experiences. And while I couldn’t agree more, it’s hard (for me, anyway) to plot and plan experiences. Fretting about stuff just comes so naturally.

3 thoughts on “A brain full of stuff

  1. matt

    I hear you loud and clear!

    Admittedly, I give in… usually after consulting with Robin.

    I always end up kind of disappointed though… not sure if it’s research, or just grass is always greener.

    Anyhow, good luck with the laptop (and/or GPS).

    [If you like the Mac, get the Mac… I got the mini, and despite some niceties… have pawned it off on Thomas who doesn’t care about the difference… I might set up some server stuff too, but I’ll have to tweak the aggressive power management to have that work.]

    Best of luck!

  2. flying squirrel Post author

    I think I realized a while ago that buying crap wasn’t going to make me happy. It’s a cliche, obviously, but I don’t think I even think that. I do think about the neat things I might be able to do with new toys, and sometimes I end up being very pleased about them. But mostly they just take up space.

    The laptop is odd, because I realized I actually spend most of my computer time at home on the laptop, rather than the desktop. That was a surprise. I originally thought I was buying a toy that would maybe make it more fun to write NaNoWriMo.

    As for the Mac, well, since I’ve given myself the luxury of an epic series of at least three more “Computers and Me” posts, I’ll have a chance to go into why I’m probably not going to buy a MacBook. Right now, anyway.

    Stay tuned!

  3. matt

    Sounds good.

    I don’t subscribe to the things = happiness camp myself; however, like you say… it’s the notion that something cool will come from doing something with the things I purchase.

    (Of course I don’t have to spend money on things to be disappointed… this weekend’s experimentation with JavaScript (jQuery and YUI to be exact) left me frustrated…)

    At any rate, let us know how the great laptop hunt goes!

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