I sometimes go to a nearby shopping mall just to be there.
Make no mistake. I have no business being there. I'm dirt poor, and can't afford to shop just about anything. If I actually made business there, I'd be put out of business quicker than a record label not migrating to the digital economy.
But I come there anyway. And the reason I go there is twofold. For one, they have a restaurant that serves an unlimited amount of food for a very limited amount of money, which goes a long way to balance my books. More importantly, though, I come to watch the others who are there, for whatever reason they might have.
Which, more often than not, is to shop. But that is not any of my business.
I do this to remind myself of the kind of society I live in. To remind myself of the Spectacle, and the brutally artificial forms under which we try to find ourselves. To watch how people try to conform to norms that are by design unfullfillable, and to watch how they invariably fail in oh so tragic ways.
I do this not to gloat, but to firmly ground myself in the reality of the unreal. And, basically, to bitchslap myself into continue doing what I'm doing - with the rationale that if I don't, this tragedy will continue ad infinitum. Or until it crash lands in a flurry of postconsumerist inevitabilities.
I have no business being there. Yet I go there, as a reminder to myself: Another world is not only possible, it is also very, very necessary.
It's easy to forget why you do the things you do. It's even easier to forget to remind yourself. And if you forget that long enough, you might start to think you have no business doing what you're doing. That you are out of place, slowly going out of business.
Sometimes, we just have to balance those books. Every once in a while.