Thursday, March 13, 2008

Freegan = Not Me

I just ran across the term "freegan" in one of the blogs I read daily. I've never heard this term before, so of course I have to research it. Cause I'm addicted to the internet. And it's a slow day at work.

Apparently, a freegan is someone who "employs alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources." I have all kinds of editorial comments going in my head that I could say here, but I'm choosing to be impartial. To each their own. Who am I to judge?

However, this spurs a topic that I've had in my head for a while but haven't blogged about. Consumerism.

I feel guilty now when I shop. Which means I've been feeling guilty quite a lot lately. I mutter to myself, "I'm just part of the problem..." as I'm driving up the ramp to the Target parking lot, along with all the other people who are 1) wasting gas to shop for things they don't need, 2) spending money they probably don't have and 3) adding to the piles of stuff that they will end up just throwing away because they're buying even more stuff.

I normally get in this mindset when I'm shopping for unnecessary things. Say, lamps, pillows, slipcovers......things like that. I really don't need these things in order to survive. And I could be doing better things with that money. Like, oh I don't know, grocery shopping so I don't have to eat bacon for dinner.

Now, when I'm shopping for new clothes because I've lost weight and none of my pants fit anymore, I feel very justified in my shopping. But I feel like I need to explain to someone that I'm not just shopping to shop. I'm not one of those women who just buys, buys, buys. I really do need clothes! I'm not part of the problem right this very minute!

I was rambling to Jamie about this in Target a few weeks ago when I bought the lampshades.

"I will survive just fine without lampshades. I don't NEED them. I love them, but I don't NEED them. So, maybe I shouldn't buy them. But it's not like I'm shopping frivolously. Okay the $18 thongs were a bit frivolous, but for the most part, I don't shop needlessly, right? I'm not irresponsible. Am I?"

(Honestly, I don't know why she likes hanging out with me. I'm exhausting.)

Jamie's response?

"Raechelle, if you were spending $200 on lampshades and then in a couple of months you decided you didn't really like them and went out and spent another $200 on lampshades, then you would be irresponsible. But these are $30. FOR BOTH OF THEM. Just buy the damn things so I can go look at bras!"

See why I love her? She grounds me.

Since I've been in Seattle (can you believe it will be nine years this July?) I've gotten a lot better about reusing. Buying stuff off craigslist and from Goodwill has, hopefully, helped cut down on what goes to landfills and donating my things, rather than throwing them away, makes me feel okay about purging.

But the guilt is still there. It's like the rain - it just seeps into you. Something about this city. I've tried analyzing WHY I buy this stuff. Why is it important to me? Why do I need to have the lampshades match? Why do I need two lamps? There's only one of me. Who's going to use that lamp on the passenger side of the bed? There are no passengers (and this makes me very sad*). Am I a shallow person because I want my lampshades to match?

This may explain why I'm not sleeping very soundly during the night. Too much goin' on in the old noggin. Now, there's one perk to drinking. Do enough of it and by golly, you'll sleep through the night.

That's probably not a healthy way of thinking is it? Sorry.

Anywho, maybe I should bring this up in therapy. Or maybe I should just say screw it, quit thinkin' so much.

Which leads me to, did I mention I just ordered the curtains for the bedroom? Should be in today or tomorrow. Once I get those up, we're more than half way to the completed Boudoir. All that's left are new nightstands (because mine just don't match the dresser, or my vision) but they're not crucial so we can wait on those, and then something on wall behind the bed until I can get a frame with a headboard (but, again, that's not crucial. I have the bed, that's the big thing).

And I'm not posting photos until it's all done, so you'll just have to wait. I know it's just killing you.

(*If you would like to apply to be my passenger, please click the "Email Me!" link to your right. You'll have access to your own lamp and beside table, complete with drawer. A photo will ensure a speedy interview process.)


Anonymous said...

You normally do not shop unnecessarily - only when you're bored with nothing to do, and then you usually head directly to the sale aisle! (I taught you well.) So stop feeling guilty about your shopping unless, of course, you're spending way more money than you have............

Carrie and/or Wayne said...

ohhh **hot button** I am also going through a lot of the same major consumerism feelings right now! Well, I have been for a couple of years, but the voices are getting louder inside of my head and heart.

No advice this time, just letting you know you are not alone.

(and maybe these feelings aren't such a bad thing.... KWIM?)

Anonymous said...

Oh-my-Lord! Yes, you think WAY too much! Buy what you want to buy as long as you can afford it. Although I must say that I always feel guilty when I buy things for myself - but never for other people. And I've never, ever heard it referred to as "the passenger side of the bed!" ;>)
P.S. I've been on vacation and I've missed your blog!