The road most traveled


Fireplace (fake or real), Christmas tree (fake or real) and toy boxes (stuffed or life-sized), all

put together to create a Hollywood home version of  White Christmas, the illusion that we are OK and what-and-how-much we charged at the registers won’t haunt us in late January.

In America, the road most traveled has been to the retail outlets. I live near a Costco.

And by sheer size of traffic leading to the store, I can read the health of the economy. When it comes to the economy, I am a bush man, unable to verify “supply side” from “trickle-down” economy.

There is a PBS documentary showing Americans in Paris during the 20’s.

Some say they came because of the Prohibition at home. Others say it was because the War exposed these young men to a wider (and wilder) world.

Whatever the case may be, more Americans have stayed home to watch others arriving at their shores  since WW II. Then, the latest census shows a decline in new arrivals.

Gas price increases not because of increased consumption in the US, but because of BRIC‘s nations.

For the first time, Americans feel the pinch not caused by domestic factors. Yes, we have been blamed for over consumption that brought up the level of carbon emission. But, lately, carbon emission have caused by high rises in Dubai and Eastern China.

Cars have been downsized in the US (Fiesta, forever), and refrigerators for dorm room from China are selling like hot cakes. I keep seeing people buying bikes at Wal-Mart.

Baby-boomer’s life-style trend. But the solution is still the same: shopping for items, large or small.

When we prepare for emergencies like Y2K, we went shopping. When we are celebrating Christmas, we go shopping.

When the economy is down, or right after 9/11, the President called on all Americans to go shopping. Robert Frost wouldn’t comment on the current state of affairs, since he must be the only one who took the road less traveled.

His other most quoted line “fence makes good neighbors”. Solitude and austerity don’t cut it . It’s a nation favors the road most traveled. When the road took an unfavorable turn, the youth went somewhere else. Twice in recent memories, they either went to Paris (Prohibition period) or Canada (during the Vietnam era) in protest.

Can you imagine everywhere you go, you run into the same people (let’s say, seeing all your friends in Ha Long Bay over Tet).  Or worst, at Costco while waiting in line paying for fake trees, fake boxes and fake firewood.

“Two roads diverged in a wood…I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” The other, most traveled, has a huge billboard which urges you to “shop for things you don’t need, with the money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t like”.

 

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