And if there was a new Xbox/Playstation/Wii to be had, there would be lines for those too. I lamented to a friend about our willingness to be slaves to consumerism and his comment was that at least we weren't in lines for toilet paper and sacks of potatoes circa 1980s Soviet Union (or the Great Depression of the 1930s). And it got me thinking, that at least people standing in those lines had a legitimate reason to stand in line. I mean, I adore easily accessible toilet paper and I certainly don't believe any human should lack basic necessities and waste time trying to obtain them. But why are we squandering our limited time on this earth helping Steve Jobs or Summit Entertainment or countless "stockholders" get filthy rich while losing our humanity in the process?
I have other friends that bragged about their own cleverness in pre-ordering iPhones and having them shipped to their door. No lines. But so what? They saved a few hours they can now blow on downloading the newest applications for their iPhone and playing with them for days on end. High-tech onanism.
This form of electronic self-gratification leaves us less connected to others, to ourselves and to the natural world.
Tornadoes and floods and BP oil disasters aside, there are still plenty of beaches clean enough to feel between our toes. There are rivers and lakes and oceans to swim in. There are parks and forests and jungles to explore. There are deserts and mountains and glaciers to climb. And an opportunity to witness firsthand all the creatures that inhabit them. The non-stinging-poisonous-sharp-toothy-bitey-angry ones, of course.
Many activities tied to the great outdoors have a cost attached, but that's the great thing about Nature in and of itself. Nature is free. And when we take the time to watch bumblebees and butterflies float onto luminous flowers or birds sing along with lush wind-kissed trees, we find calm and peace and connection to something greater than ourselves. Life that doesn't need constant electricity. Life that is wondrous. Life that is here today and gone tomorrow in the blink of an eye while we stare at the countless screens that surround us.
I enjoy going to the movies and texting my husband via my Blackberry and googling stuff. I admit my weakness for sexy showstopping stilettos. I buy things too.
But it's summer. The sun is shining. Grass is growing. Tomatoes are ripening. Hummingbirds are humming. Dogs and cats are napping in the light and warmth of day. And the only lines to be had should be tan lines.
After I finish writing this column, and after you read it, let's put the computers down, turn the TVs off and put the phones away. Let's go outside for a walk, a bike ride, a run or a swim. Sip lemonade or an ice cold beer with friends. Fire up our BBQ grills and char some fresh corn or a juicy fat steak. Talk to our kids and our lovers about our dreams, our thoughts and our ideas. Read a book. Listen to some live music (lots of city-sponsored free concerts this time of year). Dance with the waves. Watch the clouds roll by. Count the fireflies. Wish upon the stars.
Nature is free. And endless. Our time on this earth is neither. I want to spend mine with iridescent green dragonflies. No line required.