On more than one occasion I have found myself browsing a stores endless catalog of merchandise when someone approaches me and assumes that I am employed there. It's mostly middle aged women who make this mistake. The problem may be that I look mildly bemused and vaguely annoyed whenever I am shopping. I don't rigorously hunt for what I am looking for. What I do is slowly make my way through the aisles with an air of skepticism. It may also be that I look like someone who is capable of keeping a job. All of this makes me think of how easy it must be to be a confidence man. People will believe whatever you present as fact because it is always the easier route. And the easier route, as you may know, is all anyone is looking for.
Last year I celebrated Christmas three times. I had Christmas in America (Dec. 25th), Christmas in Moldova (Jan. 2nd), and Old Christmas in Moldova (Jan. 7th). Christmas in Moldova consists of exchanges gifts between friends and loved ones. On old Christmas you get together with you family and have a large feast. Instead of cutting down an entire tree, Mariana, her sister Nadia, and I went to the edge of the forest and cut down a single branch to decorate. After propping it up in a clay pot and decorating it in bulbs and thistle it resembled Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. It leaned against the wall between the threshold and the fire place in my room for about 2 weeks. Mariana said that it made little sense to waste an entire tree when you could get fine with just a branch.
I think that people in contemporary America get so depressed because they have so much time on their hands. There was once a time when one would work all day and be lucky if half of their family hadn't succumbed to the plague. These people didn't kill themselves. They just kept living...because they had to.