Last Sunday was clean-up day. Notices were nailed on trees asking for the public to sign up. The job means energetic citizens fulfil an admirable civic duty in filling sturdy rubbish bags with what unconscionable people throw out not only on the streets but also in our parks, rivers and waterways. Hundreds of tons are collected each year from mother nature. The rubbish can range between Big Maccas Quarter Pounder bags (with or without onion rings) to complete cars or parts thereof. You wonder what possesses a person to just drive into a creek and then walk away. Have they lost hope? The same with fast food bags. I can understand in that case. The utter despair of grazing out of a polystyrene box!

Even shopping trolleys are discarded. What is it that we seem so careless about our environment. I am not tempted ever to drive in a creek or chuck out bags. Perhaps it is part of a mysterious form of ‘life-style.’

For the last few years I have felt missing out on my own ‘unique lifestyle.’ The news-papers and what they advertise are full of the promise of lifestyles. It is apparently very unique and elusive. Millions yearn for it but it is only the few chosen that will obtain a really worthwhile lifestyle. You can buy it. Even so it remains esoteric. That seems to be the attraction. Only last week I noticed Harvey Norman advertising a settee that with the flick of a hand converts into a sofa bed or with another hand movement becomes a nook for lying across with a smiling blond girl in your lap. “It enhances you life style, the advertisement enthuses.” Buy it now! Thousands queue up and arrive back home with yet another ‘life-style’ infused settee.

Another adv. has a man rolling down a sloping grassy hill, peals of stereo happy laughter hits the viewer, loving kids, obviously his family, share this intimate scene, all rolling down in carefree abandonment. They are safe and secure. His partner with a very even gleaming set of teeth and a bit higher up on the hill looks at him from a distance, but she too shares into the laughter. She is also secure. Secure in husband, sorry partner, having bought an ‘AMP Golden View’ life insurance. In case he carks it, she will get an income. It includes a nice, with a guaranteed dignified (with full cortege) funeral. Again, you won’t have to worry about not continuing your life-style. It is in the bag.

I have yet to view any specification what this ‘life style’ actually is supposed to be. It can’t just be exclusivity. After all, what is exclusive if we buy a settee that has to double as a bed for an plan B drunkard or as an emergency for a drop-in friend suffering from temporary marital whiplash? Is ‘life-style’s’ elusiveness the essence of it? I would not be surprised. It must be very elusive. I haven’t yet experienced this phenomenon, even though we have two settees.

Perhaps that is the price of being on the edge of things. The observer instead of an enthusiastic participant. He is the lukewarm pan-cake at the bottom of the stack. An outsider forever doomed to mediocrity with an utterly normal life. The sort of person who keeps his gas bills, rate notices and bank-statements diligently in a filing cabinet. Year in year out. His wife sometimes catches him being busy, kneeling in front of this filing cabinet.

Those statements too will also finally be thrown out. Relatives will pore over them, sort them and chuck them. I do hope not in a creek or wedged between the trunk of an eucalypt like so many discarded aluminium cans.

This is the true life-style none of us will or even can avoid.From dust to dust, the final ‘life-style’. Buy it now!

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13 Responses to “‘Life-style.’”

  1. Rosie Says:

    Gerard – Love that you can write a funny post about the “great capitalist con” of a “perfect lifestyle”. People have forgotten that “living well” should be their ideal. Ah – the power of advertising. Is it your 400th post today?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks Rosie.
      I have always pondered over the term ‘lifestyle’. There is something fishy going on when it depends on a settee or insurance.
      I think closer to 500th post.
      I am getting nearer to doing a really good one. 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Andrew Says:

    Lifestyle passes the likes of us by, Gerard. Mrs. Ha has a sense of fashion, which perhaps comes close. I bought a pair of jeans for £4 in Tesco about 12 years ago. Mrs. Ha threw them out. I rescued them. It became a tug of style war. Other than that I can honestly say that advertising is occasionally a source of amusement to me but nothing more. Perhaps subliminally we are victims but I have never felt the urge to have a designer funeral. My ashes are to be scattered although hopefully not on the dining room floor. Cheap and cheerful it must be. And of course my life is clearly sad and incomplete – I have also never driven my shopping trolley into a pond, lake, river or canal. Sometimes it is enough to get it to go round the supermarket on a true course. Is there a way perhaps to combine shopping trolleys with funerals? Another version of buy one get one free? Funerals for all the family. On sale now at the Co-Op.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    I can relate to your jeans. I bought two pairs for $ 5.- each some years back. I wore one to a wedding and the other to a funeral. I felt like a Lord in them. No use going for a Diesel number where you pay a fortune for a pair that has been mangled and got at by a sex maniac with a chainsaw.
    I do buy good boots; RM Williams. Cost-a- fortune but I have stipulated to get buried in them (waste not want not) when I go to the real after life-style, albeit a bit dusty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Another good one, Gerard. I just erased a long tirade about eveybody needing to be rich to live a certain lifestyle.

    Sadly, most of us are poor beggars living on the fringe and the very poor are merely existing. It all seems so unfair.

    The one thing that I have noticed is that in affluent areas of the city there is no trash in creeks or street gutters. The rich and or educated as a rule do not throw their unwanted items in public places.

    Personally I can’t even throw the smallest scrap of paper out the window. I leave it in my vehicle or cram trash into a bag and then put in a recycle bin when I get home.

    There are clean up days in certain parts of my city usually done by young people who see themselves as do-gooders. That’s merely my opinion.

    Many people don’t think they are living a good life unless they are keeping ahead of the Jones family, drive the latest expensive car, and wear the lastest fashions. It all boils down to vanity and being self centered. If only they would spend some of that money on creating some college funds, or helping support a very needy family, or helping a struggling animal sanctuary. And the list goes on of what anyone can do when they are living the good life. What a different place this world would be.

    So sorry that my comment is so long. You really must curb your thought provoking posts. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Yvonne,
      Here ‘clean-up’ day is a big event. It started by one man years ago. Now it is a national event. Even so, people are back to their usual chucking away mode again. The highways are packed with rubbish that gets hoisted outside the car windows.
      I feel it is the result of this frantic race to become a ‘life-styler’. With the ever increasing need not to miss out on the latest and be seen as lagging behind the mob.
      Here, the street curbs on pick-up days are just full of discarded floral settees, black steel barbeques, old bulky TVs and computers, bicycles, especially exercise bikes with giant flywheels, then saucepans, cookery books, all sorts of foldable prams, suitcases and assortments of trolleys, enfin, enough to start a complete family.


  5. auntyuta Says:

    ‘We come from dust, and to dust we shall return.”
    You say: From dust to dust, the final ‘life-style’
    How fitting for Ash Wednesday! 🙂
    We still didn’t buy into any funeral arrangements.
    Yes, maybe we should. With this lifestyle we enjoy we ought to be able to pay for our funeral, don’t you think?
    Can you explain why the rich don’t throw any junk into public places?


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am not sure the rich don’t throw any less junk into public spaces. The rich sure junk our atmosphere with their obscene energy consumption. Here in Bowral they do it at night in crawling in their Mercedes. The Anglican church had to stop collection bins outside the church. People dumped unusable TVs, mattresses , broken settees and lots of life-style detritus.


  6. Lottie Nevin Says:

    You’ve written a really thought-provoking piece here, Gerard. Excellent. Let’s start with the junk clear up. Even here, out in the Spanish boonies, I’ve noticed how people tip stuff. It makes me rage but I’ve seen it everywhere so why shouldn’t this little bit of paradise be exempt from the same hideous gung-ho attitude to getting rid of unwanted stuff. It’s the same ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality the world over. I’ve got an old school friend who tirelessly campaigns and organises beach clean-ups in Hong Kong where she lives. She’s fanatical about the environment and plastic disposal. Thank God that there are such people to organise clean ups, just like the one that you have in your neighbourhood. We owe a lot to them.
    And lifestyle. I’m not going to pretend for one moment that I haven’t been sucked in to, or seduced by advertising. Washing powder is my weakness! but on a more serious note regarding lifestyle, I realised long ago that my ‘ideal lifestyle’ was not the one portrayed in glossy magazines or TV lifestyle shows. I know what makes me happy and it’s not a fast car, a reclining chair, designer clothes or a huge TV.
    When I snuff it, I want to be stuffed in a recycled cardboard box and burnt. Knowing my luck some grandchild will knock the remains of my ash-filled urn over and I shall be unceremoniously hoovered up and deposited in a plastic bag – ending up alongside the supermarket trolleys, prams , redundant TV’s and cars. But that’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Dear, I was hoping the Spanish were more into saving the environment. Chucking stuff out is now universal. In The Netherlands they have closed all tips (I believe) and make the manufacturer responsible for collecting their disused or superseded products. This then gets recycled. So, no new TV without the old one being brought or collected by the makers or distributors.

    I am not sure about my plans for post-snuffing it. No doubt a box of some sorts will be needed.

    There is very little future in snuffing except by the crematoriums. I believe they are now permanently on stand-by. Hearse after hearse pass by. A mechanical scooper fills boxes with ash and on conveyer belt gets put into storage to be collected. Many boxes of the dearly departed never get collected.

    I remember as a child there was no rubbish collection in the city. Everything was used. The food scraps collected by a cart and horse. Paper and rags were collected by a rag man. We, as children used to make money collecting paper. Food was sold by weight and wrapped in paper bags. Meat was cut in front of you. No plastic.

    Kapok matrasses were often passed on from generation to generation. Today, many people buy those each time they move with the previous ones ending up, mysteriously, at supermarket car parks or in the local creek next to a rusting cadaver of a car..


  8. rod Says:

    Two additional things occur to me about life-style. The first is that some people of religious bent (I use the word ‘bent’ advisedly) regard homosexuals as having chosen a gay lifestyle. I do not think this likely. But if you take this view, then you will believe that a homosexual person could choose to adopt a lifestyle more in keeping with Leviticus and may feel free to persuade them to exercise this choice.

    The other is that many people believe they have an entitlement to a holiday, which usually means taking themselves off to a different location – Turkey, for example, where more journalists are in jail than any other country. Some even go on holiday several times a year. When I was young I thought a holiday was a day when you didn’t have to work.

    (I’ve decided not to ‘buy it now’ since death comes free to us all.)


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