Apparently I’m not the only one who wants it all (or tells themself they need it all). This is an article from a cycling magazine titled “The World’s Most Complete Sock-Height Style Decoder”:
When you turn to page 28, the magazine informs you of the appropriate occasions to wear either crew-cut, low-rise, mid-calf or knee-high socks while cycling. Apparently a crew-cut sock is appropriate for women riding road bikes, but not mountain bikes, and are never appropriate for men. Knee-high socks are only appropriate for being “trendy” or when you’re “on the podium”…. you get the gist.
This is where need vs. want gets tricky. Some people honestly convince themselves that they need this many variations of sock, and that’s only for cycling (which is rampant in DC). Who knows how many socks they have if they also run, ski, wear low-rise shoes with which it would be embarrassing to show a sock line, get cold feet, etc.
Personally, I have three pairs of running socks. Three pairs! When I bought them, I told myself that it’s necessary because they get dirty in between laundry days (well, that justifies two of the pairs, the third was a thinner “summer” pair so my feet don’t sweat so much). These socks cost around $9 each. That’s $27 on socks that I only wear for one activity.
In Not Buying It, Levine (who has become my literary sidekick throughout this challenge) quotes professor Douglas B. Holt comments on this type of ‘postmodern consumerism’:
“The ‘good life’ is not a matter of having a well-defined list of status goods. Instead, it is an open-ended project of self-creation. The idea is to circulate continually through new experiences, things, and meanings, to play with different identities by consuming the goods associated with those identities.”
The identity sought after here is “extreme” athlete. The more serious someone is about a sport, the more expensive crap they own. I buy into it (obviously, I own three freaking pairs of running socks), but this challenge makes me question the whole idea of forming my identity around the things I possess.
If I get those Toms shoes or Timbuktu bag, will I feel more like a DC-resident? If I get minimalist running shoes, will I be a more extreme runner? If I get a new iPod that fits more songs, will I value music more?
My hunch is no.
But in midst of the struggle, this feels great:
Discover: No payment due at this time. You have a zero balance.
Total spent so far: $400.34
(Spent $24.77 more on groceries. I must eat a lot.)