I feel very free to write whatever I want here, because I don't think anyone in the world knows this thing still exists. With that liberation in hand, I am going to share some of the joys of having moved back to Utah; a place with which I have a conflicted relationship. I love many of the people that are here, but I loathe many of the practices that give this place its color. Also, speaking in generalizations is dumb and dangerous, so consider this post idiotic and unsafe. So without further ado, here are 3 joys I have been able to bask in since moving back to the wild, wild west.
1. The amount of stuff here in Utah is astounding. It seems like a great deal of people have a great deal of stuff. Sometimes I feel like I am choking on the materialism. Louis C.K., a stand-up comedian, has a bit where he talks about how evil he is. According to his own self-analysis, one of the qualities that makes him evil is that he drives an Infinity. He explains that he could trade in his car and still drive a nice car, maybe a Toyota or something, and get like $20,000 back. Yet he does no such thing even though he knows there are people in the world that could use his help because they can't buy food, clothing, or medicine and are dying because of it. So he continues to drive his Infinity, he doesn't help those people even though he could, and he subsequently sleeps like a baby. It is a kind of humorous take on the confluence of no longer being blissful because you're no longer ignorant and the notion that if you've been given much, more is required of you. Does that help explain my choking feeling?
2. I understand the desire to have an accepted image. Who doesn't? In fact, I don't really believe there is a way to separate yourself completely from image consciousness. Even people who purposefully try to buck the trend end up looking like others who are trying to do the same (I'm looking at you hipsters). But it has been apparent to both Whit and I that there is a difference in the age norm that surrounds appearance trendiness here in Utah. Anecdote time! We went to dinner a few weeks ago and had to wait a while for a table to be ready. The restaurant we went to was attached to a mall (classy, right?), so we decided to go for a stroll and get some massages at the Brookstone while we waited (has anyone actually ever bought anything at Brookstone?). We were both completely fascinated with the number of middle aged men wearing designer jeans. I'm not talking about nice jeans, but jeans with fancy, sparkly designs on the butt. Maybe I've simply missed the boat, but I don't think those jeans were designed to be sported on a 5o-something-year-old rump. It just seems like a reach for an image I don't quite get. And that reach can be applied to other overly-trendy clothing making and body altering decisions that seem to be made here by a slightly more "experienced" age cohort.
3. I can appreciate people's political opinions. In fact, I am glad people have varying takes on these sorts of things because it adds a different dimension to life. But, and I think we can all agree on this, there are appropriate times and places for stating those deeply rooted opinions and there are some inappropriate ones. To me, church meetings fall under the inappropriate ones. I don't want to hear your Beck-isms or Olbermann-isms at church. Trying to weave your political paradigms into a Sunday School comment is not cool. Yet even more inappropriate than this are the partisan insinuations (some can't even be considered insinuations) that are mixed into prayers. Really people? Can't we say prayers for the entire congregation without trying to make a political point? If you want to do that in your own prayer, be my guest, but don't expect an "amen" from me if you're preaching politics during the invocation at sacrament meeting.
As my good friend Spilkagaga would say, holler.