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Life Exists During the Christmas Shopping Season

It has been awhile since I offered extra credit points to the reader who can supply the right information: in this case, the name of the essay in which Thoreau said (more or less) that he had walked all the way across Manhattan and hadn't seen one person who was actually alive.

That is a useful thought to keep in mind if you find yourself in a busy shopping area in the USA near Christmas. There are softies out there who will tell me that that is not a "nice" thought. But it was actually...

I walked into a Walmart recently in an Arizona desert town, and the quote from Thoreau came to mind. But something I saw relieved this otherwise gloomy thought: a little dog was walking around next to a touring bicycle, fully loaded, and leaning against the side of the building.

Why wasn't the little dog on a leash? Where was the owner? I considered guarding the little dog, but maybe I too wasn't really alive. Instead, I continued into the store to do some routine shopping.

When I came out, the dog's owner still wasn't there. The little dog had jumped up, apparently, onto the cargo piled onto the rear of the bike. Is that how the little guy stayed on the bike? It was piled up a bit like a doggie saddle. He looked so professional about his job. (He and his human were on some kind of ride-across-the-country fundraiser for animal shelters.)

It was disappointing not to get a chance to meet the bicyclist and dog owner. But what really mattered was that, of all the hundreds of shoppers there that day, one little creature was convincingly alive. 

That little dog really affected me, proving, I guess, that there is nothing like a good 'setup' before an experience can really move you.


XXXXX said…
Your last sentence redeemed you.
There is great truth that we set ourselves up for what we then experience. My current position on this phenomena is that the older one gets, the worse it gets as we have a lifetime of experiences and subsequent judgments that we tend to be on a mission to validate.
I could argue that the dog was one of the least "alive" as he has been bred for thousands of years to do a job, one that pleased mankind. His instincts at this point are 100% in operation and there is little cognitive ability capable of any other choice.
And, in regard to Christmas, I want no part of it myself but I do recognize that for some people this is the time of year they look forward to and relish. In a way, I see their point. It is totally idealized, perhaps the perfect world we would all like to live in. Getting presents, lights everywhere, music, food, parties, and cheer. No room for the thoughts, events, problems we all wish would just go away.
I dunno... this comment makes me a little nervous. You aren't advertising for Subjective-ism, are you?
XXXXX said…
I'm not sure why you drew this conclusion. That's certainly an extreme. My thoughts have more to do with observing how often we seem to credit our opinions as fact.