In the very recent past have laughed at my historical declaration of myself as a “Minimal” person. You know – the non-consumer type. The one who is above all of the marketing and all of the “stuff-ism”. The guy who doesn’t go to the mall, the guy who just buys things that he needs.
As I have moved forward with the process of getting ready for this trip I am struck with how absolutely full of shit I am in regards to that.
The picture below is a picture of everything that I will be bringing with me to live for the next year. You can’t see all of it (actually you can’t see any of it) and – comically – in and of itself, there’s nothing minimal about it even in regards to taking a trip where you are packing everything that you want to bring into 2 bags that need to weight less than 40 pounds combined.
But before I actually write about the sort of comedy of what is in these 2 bags and how completely NOT minimal that is I wanted to return to the idea of my so-called minimal life as it stood before that and maybe pontificate on what it means.
So, the factual truth is – I really don’t like to shop as a hobby and I believe that so many people do. I really do believe that I shop for things that I do use, that I incorporate into the creative projects that I undertake and that I actually do get use and value out of most of the items that I buy. So, in analyzing the reality that hit me as I have scaled myself first into a temporary apartment prior to our trip and then from there, scaling down into 2 bags weighing 40 pounds total, I finally can see the piles and piles of stuff – and it’s weird how for me it feels like even though I do have all of it – IE – that I did purchase it purposefully – but yet still I am totally able and willing to abandon most of it without much concern.
To explain quickly – I rented my home a month ago to my friend who will live there while I am gone. I felt it more important to rent to someone that I trusted than to wait until the last minute but what that meant was I needed to find something in between. Randomly, luckily, the apartment literally across the street from me opened and the owner has known me for years and let me do an ultra-short rental. Smiles!!!!! So, it made zero sense to set up a complete domicile for 2 months especially because my friend was keeping a lot of the furniture at the place I own.
Here’s the first downscale – and here’s how crazy I realized our culture is. Here’s what I brought to the new apartment:
3 Guitars, A piano keyboard, a soundsystem, a tower computer with 2 monitors, my laptop, my printer, all of the peripheral USB equipment associated with the computers, 3 chairs, a desk, 12 pairs of shoes, around 50 t-shirts, 15 pairs of cotton shorts, 6 pairs of gyms shorts, 8 gym shirts, 20 pairs of boxers, 20 pairs of sports socks, 8 pairs of dark socks, 7 pairs of jeans, 25 button down shirts, 2 pairs of snowboarding pants, 2 snowboarding jackets, 4 lightweight jackets, 8 sweatshirts, 5 sweaters, 2 DSLR cameras with 11 different lenses, a gopro, my other video camera, my aerial video helicopter, 2 laptop backpacks, 2 camelback backpacks, 4 duffel bags, 4 business/dress suits, 8 pairs of dress pants, 16 hats of all kinds, 10 different random costumes, 4 pairs of winter gloves, an electric toothbrush, 2 cast iron dutch ovens (my favorite way to cook … but 2?), a cast iron pan, 3 plastic mixing bowls, my long board skateboard, my wetsuit, booties and hood ….
So, maybe you – and I – are asking – “Am I just a fucking delusional nutcase for thinking that I am not the consumer of all consumers?”??????
I have chosen for the moment not to go too deep into that question. I think that the answer is “no” and I think that my laundry list of items says a lot about life in the United States (and many other places) in the 21st century. Let me leave it with that for the moment.
For now it’s a random, curious post near the start of a random, curious adventure. Stay tuned.