Cheesy Smiles

Like minds

I am feeling a bit redundant around here lately; gardening! sewing! cooking! happiness! — plus the occasional buffalo.

It dawned on me yesterday how foreign I’m feeling in this culture; also, this is why the craft/travel/cooking/faith blog community makes me feel so reassured. When watching the occasional television show, or browsing magazines at the airport, I notice how wildly different my values are. I am not sure who Heidi and Spencer are, or why they seem to be in every “women’s interest” magazine. I’ve learned they are the products of brief fame via reality TV. At least with sports figures, we can justify our adoration by their talents. What exactly do these two give to American culture, other than heaps of ridiculous photos?

I had a fairly lengthy conversation with Jessica and Shelley about my irrational dislike for  socialites. Ultimately, I don’t understand why anyone would want to accept the life handed to them without trying to make it their own. If I were an heiress, you’d better believe I’d have studied at an Ivy league and be doing something worthwhile. The last thing I’d want to do is wander southern California with a Starbucks cup in one hand and no ambition in the other — like the swarms of other trust fund, glassy-eyed, underfed girls my age.  Not to mention if I had that kind of fashion budget, I’d never be caught in dirty sweats, barefoot at the coffee shop. (An entirely different post.) My God, what I’d do with that fashion budget…

And so, from this browsing, I bought a copy of The Atlantic, read a fascinating article about a happiness study conducted at Harvard and was amazed how 5,000 words and no papparazzi photos later, I felt like I’d actually gotten my $6 bucks worth. I’m not turning my nose up at gossip magazines, reality television or living a fast food lifestyle. To each is own. It’s just not mine. The older I get, the more I find my joy in living a simple life, the harder it is becoming to relate. Imagine if we had the papparazi following Mugabe and Castro and the future of their countries interested us in the same way? If you could drive through a fast food restaurant and get a great, organic salad for $5. If we celebrated teachers and education the way we do starlets and fame.

Have you ever felt this way?

Thankfully, I’ve got similarly minded friends and a faith that reminds me regularly of the virtues of frugality, simplicity and finding joy in experiences not things.  If the Internets is good for anything, it is bringing together people who share similar values and interests — whether they are baking your own bread and moving to a commune or cackling at the fashion faux pas of the rich and famous.

If you wouldn’t mind — I’d appreciate hearing your opinion on American culture. Where do you find yourself recoiling? Where do you find yourself jumping in with both feet?