Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Compact: Eating Out

Well, this morning I just couldn't decide what to have for breakfast. We were out of bread, and I'm currently sick of my favorite apple/yogurt/walnuts concoction. The kitchen's a bit of a mess, so cooking an egg didn't feel like the best option. My ideal scenario would have been to find a friend who wasn't busy and go to the nearby bakery/cafe for a pastry and some chat (we are going to skip right over the fact that 9 times out of 10, pastry = sugar = what the heck I thought I was giving up sugar), but alas no one I tried was answering their phone this morning, and the one person who did had just eaten. I then proceeded to spend a good hour or so wrestling with myself about whether or not eating out fits in with our Compact-ing journey or not. The Professor and I have discussed it some, but we didn't reach a resolution, so I couldn't just go with a clear conscience and be done with it.

Given that the wrestling was occurring on an empty stomach, it's no surprise that I finally gave up, bundled up, grabbed some videos to return to the library, and stalked off to the bakery for a frickin' cheese danish, no-sugar pledge be damned. On the way, I stopped into the hardware store to see about a light bulb we need for the office, and who should I run into but The Professor himself. Hooray! Alas, he was rushing late to an appointment to do lab/science things, so we didn't get to hash out our self-imposed rules on eating out, but we will, I hope, continue the conversation at the first available opportunity. He did give me his blessing on the danish, and a loaf of bread he'd picked up at a different, slightly less convenient but decidedly yummier bakery that he'd gotten since leaving the house this morning. So, I could have skipped the danish and eaten toast, but I got the danish anyhow. And a muffin. And a croissant. You have to spend $5 to use a debit card at this bakery, so I couldn't just get the one item, alas. And at that point, my mind was made up.

The whole eating out issue brings up so many questions. I am not even going to start going into it now, but I am sure it will be the source of more than one future post. I wonder how other people have answered this question. I'm going to go hunt around other Compact blogs and the Yahoo list and see what I can find out.

We also started a little bit of interesting conversation in the hardware store. On hearing a little bit of our Compact conversation, our favorite salesperson there asked, "Well, if everyone stops buying things, wouldn't the economy just grind to a halt?" I wanted to say, but didn't, is the American population so moronic that if everyone did stop buying unnecessary things all at once (in that insanely unlikely scenario, I know many people who have no intention whatsoever of changing their consumption patterns even one iota), that we would all just sit here with our thumbs up our asses and not figure out any other ways to make a living? I mean, people are going to need stuff (nice clean new spiral-bound journals for one thing), but having less of it isn't going to stop the world spinning. If the bulk of American jobs were manufacturing jobs, I might buy it, and I need to do my research before I can say for sure, but my guess is that most of the stuff people are buying isn't even made in the US, so whose economy are we worried about? This whole experiment is definitely going to be a thought-provoking one, I can tell.

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