This week when I went to call the number on the mop I own to order more refills, I was told they no longer make this mop or the refills that go with it. I’ve had this mop for years and thought I had figured out how to keep a perfectly good thing going after the stores I go to stopped carrying the refills, having opted instead for the newest, latest and greatest mops du jour. When I figured out I couldn’t get what I needed in my area, I called the company directly. I thought I had solved the problem. Not so.
This experience parallels my recent foray into trying to keep alive a laptop computer. When I went to the place that restores computers they told me they could fix the problem, but that Apple would no longer support this model. Meaning, I would be flying without a net in the world of hackers and all the other things that can happen online.
I’ll also throw in here the washing machine I got a few years ago that I am told has about a 6-7 year lifespan due to all the modern upgrades. The very same upgrades “that make the washers so much better for us,” have actually shortened the lifespan. Again, I am told that this is the tradeoff we make to get all the superior features, and that I should just see how much better it is for me, even when I know it is not.
In fact, the upgrade claim turns to dust in my mouth and is a pill I am not willing to swallow when I know that if the people making the machines were invested in something long-term, and not just intoning the mantra of how much better our lives are now and banking on us all just taking it, they could do better. They would do better. How do I know they can do better? Because they used to. As evidenced by the washing machine my mother had for over 30 years. With every repairman able and willing to fix what needed fixing.
Where am I going with all of this?
This throw-away way of living is killing us. And not just in terms of the planet. The disposable, convenient, “just get a new one” mentality is permeating every aspect of life now; devastating not just the Earth, but us as well in terms of who we believe we are and what we make important.
We pay an “invisible” price when we believe that our lives and what we need is best done from the level of what is cheap, convenient and therefore disposable. As in, not valuable, not worth fixing, not worth investing in. Not really caring about. Because we have been paying this price for so long now, we have come to believe that this is just how it is. Worse yet, we have not noticed the dulling of ourselves and the overall general malaise towards life that has sprung up in its wake.
A kind of disregard that has crept in when it comes to caring for things. In other words, none of it matters, because we can just get a new one.
We cannot expect that the lack of value we bring to the relationship to what we purchase will be separate from how valuable we believe we and those around us are. It’s just that simple. The only way this changes is by more of us coming to see that our lives are valuable enough to demand a world based on what endures.