Tue 31 Jan 2012
The lobby of my old LA apartment building
I was at a shopping centre the other day when I witnessed a little girl – probably about 10 years old – throw herself at a pile of fuzzy, stuffed animals for sale while simultaneously begging her mother to buy one. “Pleeeeeease, I need one!” she squealed, clinging for dear life to one particularly pink panda.
Unconvinced, the mother firmly tugged her daughter away from the cuddly temptation and I could hear the whine slowly fade in the distance as the pair disappeared in a sea of shoppers. Though I can’t say for certain, I’m guessing that the little panda was likely forgotten by the end of that day. Out of sight, out of mind.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I was surrounded by shiny toys. Of course they were of the adult variety: high-end cars, expensive footwear, designer clothes and opulent restaurants with over-the-top menu offerings (and prices to match!). The more I was exposed to these things, the more I felt I needed them.
Every time I’d get a lift in a friend’s wood grain interior-ed Mercedes Benz, my Honda Accord started to feel like a hunk of junk. Whenever I’d dine among the privileged elite at a Hollywood hot spot, I’d long for the freedom that an inflated salary afforded them; instead of dining there once every blue moon, I could go as often as I’d want. Even the gym wasn’t safe; working out next to the ladies-who-gym in all their designer workout gear would make my ratty t-shirt/tracksuit bottoms combo look like something from a charity shop reject pile.