Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Choosing lifestyle

“Lifestyle” is now surely a self-parodying word.  Its main current usage seems to be by real-estate agents hyping the location virtues of otherwise perhaps unliveably-small inner city apartments – they are invariably on “lifestyle strips”.  Presumably meaning an area with two or more copycat, hipster-rent-a-crowd cafés – so if your apartment is not sufficiently claustrophobic, you can take the lift down, to where you can soak up your new “lifestyle” in all its deafening, crowded and bum-numbing glory.  (If you’re under 35, I do appreciate that these things are actually positives, and indeed the Most Risky Thing in The World for a hipster to do would be to patronise a new café in which there is not already a “hipster quorum” – a dozen or so near identically-dressed other hipsters sitting on milk-crates, or similar stools cunningly and expensively designed for maximum discomfort.  And if there's a queue to get in, I also appreciate that this is to hipsters what the "Sanitized" strip on motel toilet seats is to Middle America - a ring of confidence, worth its weight in gold).   

A secondary real-estate use of “lifestyle” is probably even more risible – it simply means what until yesterday would have been called a retirement community, but today, thanks to a few pieces of gym equipment thrown into a room, is now a “lifestyle village”.  You no longer move to such a place to quietly live out your twilight years – sweating them out instead is a much better deal.  Oh, but I’m sure there’s an in-house café too – thus meaning that the dwellings are unliveably-small (see above), or if not, that your neighbours are not the inviting-you-home-for-a-cuppa type, in which case you’re not really living in a “community”, in my opinion.  

It thus seems fair to say that people who choose “lifestyle” are gullible, insecure herd creatures.  And also, as of this morning, Indigenous Australians living in remote communities – according to Tony Abbott, anyway.

Presumably, these Indigenous Australians have fallen for a real-estate spiel also; poor dears.  It might have gone something like this: 

“Move out of the town camp, and back to your country.  It will be a dry community, so your less functional neighbours and relations won’t be there much.  You may find it a good place to create some art – and the local art centre is a big employer in town.  If art is not your thing, there’s usually a mining company sniffing around nearby – meaning there’s a fair chance, if you don’t mind the lost land trade-off, of living sweet on royalty cheques.  And if by some chance, your chosen remote community doesn’t have any real economy, you will still live the good life, spending your days and nights sitting on whacky, ramshackle furniture communing with your neighbours, happily ever after.  Best of all, you won’t even need to move to ‘lifestyle village’ when you get older – this community already has a few pieces of gym equipment no one ever uses.  In fact, you’re probably sitting on it right now.”

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