Chinese parkas and inflated Cheerios

I’m standing in the middle of a storm holding a box of Cheerios reading about how good they are for me. The wind whips at my skin. I feel myself wake up. Listen to the storm rage against the machine which is society.

Meanwhile General Mills is taking over the world. And I’m left standing, wondering what to believe anymore.

The wheat-y o’s taste stale in my numb mouth.

Someone walks by, hands me a parka, “To protect against the rain,” they say. The label says ‘Made in China.’ Why can’t we make our own parkas?

I shrug. Slip it on. The rain slaps against the flimsy material which moulds to my skin and I begin to scream: “Take it off!” But my skin is the parka, and suddenly I’m turning plastic inside and out while stuffing my face with cereal full of lies.

Tiny o’s which seem so innocent. Like little mouths, gaping at the world.

Suddenly I’m surrounded by people handing me a house to live in, electric lights and soft beds and refrigerators which hum and eat up the world’s resources. Soon I can no longer feel the rain or hear the wind rage against the machine which is society. I’m protected by these man-made lifesavers which remind me of inflated Cheerios and I’m floating… waving goodbye to everything which made me feel yucky. Convicted.

I sit at my kitchen table. My parka hangs dry on a plastic knob from Home Depot. I dip my spoon into the tiny o’s and hear them crunch, dying quietly under the masticating force of my jaws. I turn the box away so I don’t need to see the label ‘General Mills’ and distract myself with the games on the back.

“These are good for me,” I tell myself, and suddenly I feel really comfortable. Life is fine. There is no storm. How can there be? I can’t feel a thing.

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4 Comments

  1. April 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    annie… i went to reply to your comment on my blog, but it seems to have been deleted. anyway, you said “Emily, I think you are suffering from a serious case of label-ophobia. Would it truly be better if everything was nameless and sourceless? (If that were even possible?) I really wonder – from whence cometh this “storm” in both your waking and dreaming hours? You know what Christ said to the storm that threatened to drown the disciples — “Peace, be still.”

    it’s so important, annie, for us not to take things at face value. i wrote this for adbusters, a magazine which, along with Geez, has really helped me become a critical thinker. i think more than ever it’s important for us as christians to think critically about the way we’re using and abusing the world we live in. to the inner storm, Christ says ‘peace.’ but against the outer storm, he wants us to fight. to rage quietly into the night. love em.

  2. Melanie said,

    April 20, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Hey Em,

    I am glad that you think critically about these matters. This is a thought provoking post. How do you think we solve this issue. I want us to become more local and self sustained, but how is that possible in this global age? What are your thoughts?

    To answer your question, Ryan and I watched ratatouille (the rat chef)…really cute. But, we really like pixar movies:)

  3. April 20, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    hey mel,
    i’m so glad you’re trying to go local and suppport sustainability.
    it’s tough, surrounded by so many pre-made, corporate suppliers, but i
    think it’s possible. this is what we do: buy our meat from a local
    farmer (he’s butchering on april 28, so we’ll be picking some up after
    that); grow as many vegetables as possible in our garden during
    summertime, and the rest of the year, buy a ‘good food box’ from the
    library every month which allows us to again support local farmers
    even during winter months; buy our flours, oats, and rice from a local
    grain mill so the bread i make (homemade), porridge, crisps, and the
    rice dishes are local. we still haven’t found a way to do milk
    products locally, but our goal, once we move out west, is to buy a
    cow. as far as clothes go, you can go to value village or salvation
    army and thereby ‘mess over’ the big name guys by buying second-hand.

    keep up the good fight! love em.

  4. AmmeePearl said,

    April 20, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Hey girl! Usually I don’t post a comment on these ones cause I generally agree with you and I don’t have anything else intelligent to say (lol!) but I found this post pretty interesting indeed — it’s both really sad and sort of black humour/comical (in your continued reference to the little cherrios) … kind of like your take on Pulp Fiction … I admire your drive and passion, but there are always two sides to every story — even bad ones =) We can’t solve all the worlds problems, we can just do our part the best we can ~ which I think you do very well!! love, a.


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