This I Believe

Adam - Sonoma, California
Entered on September 27, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in supply and demand. It seems like everyday, all day, someone is constantly demanding things from me. Much of the time I supply what they ask for, but there are times when I just say no. This should, in theory, limit the continuing demands, but like economics when the supply gets low the demand goes up, as does the cost of the thing demanded. OK, I say, I’ll drive you to the mall, but you owe me two hours of yard work.

Yes, my kids. They are remarkably demanding. They want a new computer, a trampoline, an electric scooter, a zip line so they don’t have to actually walk down the back steps. They want tickets to a Wednesday night concert two hours away with no parental supervision. You can wait in the car, I’m told. One wants season tickets to the Oakland A’s, one to the now exciting Warriors, but not together. They don’t see the problem with not doing anything to earn money right now. We’ll have to work our whole lives, they say, and they’re right. My resolve weakens.

In my house, we call this the demand cycle. It begins each and every morning with the cat and the dog. As soon as I blink the cat is on me meowing incessantly. The dog senses movement like the criss-crossed lasers in Oceans 11. Cat meows, dog snorts, until someone (usually me) gets up to meet the demands. Then the kids arise with mild early morning requests, usually for cash or permission to do something antithetical to homework, studying, or general responsibility.

Why is there so much demand for my time? It doesn’t stop there, of course. I get to work and all day long I am asked for things. My direction, my advice, my permission. When I get home I feel like I have lost weight after giving away so much of my attention, but it’s not real. I have not lost weight. I may have lost my mind, though.

I await the weekend like everyone else, hoping for at least a bit of rest to deal with the demand cycle a bit better. On Saturday morning, when I wake up, I do not stretch, open my eyes, or even sigh. I know the cat is waiting, watching, as is the dog, because they do not have weekends. I lie there, still as a rock, hoping to catch a few more winks. I wake up stiff but reasonably refreshed, after a few Advil. The demands have been delayed.

I believe this is just a microcosm for our society. Everyone is constantly demanding things. More stuff, more time, more attention. Our demand leaves us with a feeling of not enough supply, and so we get competitive over things like cabbage patch dolls. People actually hit each other for a doll. When do we become content? Do we ever? I asked this question of a meditation teacher I know, but he didn’t respond, so I will email him daily until he does. No demand, no supply. I believe I want it right now, whatever it is. I believe I want a latte. No, a single shot would be enough. I mean, it’s got to stop somewhere.