Tucumcari encourages frugality

After living here officially for one month, I am pleased to report that living in Tucumcari is entirely possible. Aren’t you all relieved?

Sure, if I want to do my laundry after 8 p.m., I need a washboard. If I want a large French fry after midnight, I had better have some potatoes in the fridge. But truly my situation has improved in both cases. Living in a city that sleeps encourages me to do the same, so I can avoid the obligatory glazed-eyed Wal-Mart expedition when I run low on triple-A batteries or post-it notes at 2:30 a.m.

There is much to be said for the benefits that befall an economically busy community, and Tucumcari is obviously busy. Yet the city is not too busy as most stores close in the mid-to-late evening and many stay closed on Sundays. I believe this has been saving me money.

It doesn’t take an expert economist or a newspaper reporter to reveal that consumerism has been on the rise among countries that can afford to consume for years now. The sociological and political implications of this trend are widely discussed and worth investigating. What concerns me as a human is how much my individuality stands as an effect or cause of my consumption.

In today’s world, we all must admit that our circumstances and our consumption are intertwined. Living in Tucumcari, for instance, means avoiding suburban sprawl and therefore probably saving money on commute times. It also seems less likely that a Tucumcarian will be trampled as she walks into Kmart on Black Friday morning, saving additional expenses.

Joey Hass, our ad salesman, mentioned to me Monday that he finds no significant difference in his day-to-day life in Tucumcari from his time as an Odessa, Texas resident more than five years ago. He said he can do pretty much all of the same things he did in Odessa, and takes exception when he hears somebody talking about wanting to live in a bigger town. His contention is that, with all of the trappings of city life, a typical city-dweller will engage in the same daily routine, spending most of her time at work and at home.

I was perfectly content with this analysis until Joey mentioned that his new University of Texas sweatshirt and burnt-orange Nike Shox were scheduled to arrive at his house Monday. I then realized that, no matter where I roam, as long as there is a reliable Internet connection in range and I have access to a credit card, I am subject to the perils of unlimited spending choices.

So much for the rewards of a life spent far from high-dollar vendors. If you see me around town wearing an apple crate with belt straps tied around my shoulders, you will know who to blame.