‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Story of Stuff

Oh I have such Consumer Conflict.

I just posted that quote below, which in the '50s allegedly steered the economy into today's consumerism. My first response is "oh, we don't do that here at Trout Towers." But of course we do. Because I like shoes.

Chris is a non-consumer poster child. He is forever coming home from the dump with discarded windows and assorted building materials. Our chicken coop? He bought something like $15 worth of supplies and made the rest out of what's stacked up behind our house ("ooooh, pretty" you breathe, enviously). There is, at this moment, a granite and porcelain bathroom sink (no fixtures, just counter and basin) sitting next to our driveway because Chris was at the dump when some guy asked him for help pulling it out of a truck and Chris couldn't bear to toss it into the dumpster. I would like very much to rip out all three bathrooms and put new stuff in, but a big granite slab is not what I had in mind.

I have a trip to Ikea in mind, where I will buy all new fixtures and cabinets. Not only do I like shoes; I like bathroom fixtures, new appliances and robot vacuums.

But think of the gas we're saving, not driving to the store to buy eggs!

And then there's shopping for the kids. Does Lucy want the hippest, the coolest, the trendiest clothes? Not yet. Do I dress her in muslin smocks and horsehair bonnets? Not so much.

I suspect we all have our secret vices, so here's my plan: it will be like going on a diet. Oh right, I'm notoriously bad at diets. But I do know that things go better when I pay attention to what I'm doing. For instance, I try not to sit on the couch reading with a bag of Oreos at my side. I think, hmmmm, I could eat 17 Oreos or I could save up and have that brownie sundae tomorrow. If I'm really good and resist buying new things I don't really need or want, maybe I can get the appliances.

I also ask myself if it's worth carting off to Salvation Army in a couple weeks. I am lazy, so this usually does the trick. It's like threatening myself with an extra kick-boxing class.

I will also allow myself some "health food," like fair trade yarn and shiny trinkets and baubles from sustainable sources. You know, like bamboo sporks.

And I've also gotten really into raiding my mom's house for stuff she doesn't use anymore - like her canning tools (but not her lead saucepans). She offered me her canning tools and I actually heard myself say "that's okay, I'll just pick some up at the kitchen shop in town." I have obviously been brainwashed by the followers of Victor Lebow. But I know that as I stand in my kitchen in a muslin smock, pulling jars of chutney from boiling water with my grandmother's tongs, I am finding my own version of spiritual satisfaction.

4 comments:

thefoodsnob said...

Hmm, sounds like your husband is related to my husband.
Sounds like a great way to acheive spiritual zen, save a jar for me!

Lisa

Susan said...

Lisa - I will gladly save you a jar. It comes with a complimentary granite sink. You know, a little something for your husband.

Liz said...

Mmmm, brownie sundaes eaten with bamboo sporks...

JAbel said...

At the start of each summer my friend Jimmy Manning would head to the truro dump and come home with ripped up lounge chairs and parts of bikes.He would build a few good bikes out the parts and reweb the chairs so if we were living in a campground or a cottage each summer we had some furniture and some transport.the returnable type empty beer cases made great tables.Pickwick ale cases were a favorite.