“Daddy, we can get ice cream on Door Dash!”
I immediately remembered our last DoorDash order: Vietnamese Pho.
It was so sad.
The broth a bit too cold.
The noodles a bit too hard.
The meat a bit too raw.
Bruh, Pho is not meant to be shipped 20 minutes across town in a Toyota Prius.
So getting a single scoop of ice cream shipped across town to my house wasn’t particularly enticing.
(Plus, think about the viscosity of my Rocky Road scoop?!?!)
I wondered – has obsession for efficiency gone awry?
Summer ice cream trips
My nostalgia kicked in as I reminsiced about our ice cream outings when I was 10.
We’d often be in the south of France – at a small beach town south of Bordeaux called Arcachon.
There was a huge sand dune (La Dune de Pilat) that all the cousins would run up – then roll down. Over and over until the sun set.
Then our tired and sandy bodies would head to the only ice cream shop in town, where the line wrapped around the block.
And we’d deliciously savor the evening’s hard-earned rewards.
The atomization of commerce
The DoorDash-ification of a scoop of ice cream made me think of how small our units of commerce have become. In Charles Eisenstein’s book Sacred Economics, he looks at this “atomization” of commerce.
“As the economy grows,” Eisenstein writes, “by definition, more and more of human activity enters the realm of money, the realm of goods and services.”
It’s not enough to go get an ice cream.
It needs to be delivered to you.
And thankfully, there’s a market mechanism for that.
A “micro-service” of sorts.
This atomization permeates the lives of affluent professionals living in the Western world.
The wellness industry will sell you liver pills to get buff, CBD gummies to rock you to sleep and blue chew to get you aroused on command.
You can find zen through the Headspace app, heal your childhood trauma with a trip to Costa Rica and connect to your purpose with a Better Up coach.
And the human connection we so desperately crave can be found on Hinge, in your Instagram stories and through annual pilgrimages to Coachella.
Again, I don’t position myself as above any of these pursuits. By no means am I enlightened or blissfully coasting along on a cloud of transcendence.
In fact, I’m guilty of pretty much all of them (as both “consumer” and “supplier”).
Yes, in theory we can create the perfectly atomized portfolio of life.
But surely we’re missing something.
I’m not sure what that something is – but one thing’s for sure – it ain’t available on DoorDash.
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