Stuff Reduction Diary Week 18 – Still going strong and feeling inspired

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The tools of my trade – only needed the screwdriver to prise off the old head

I am four and a bit months into this challenge and can proudly say I am still going strong. I am actually really enjoying the whole thing and at the moment I think I may keep going after the end of the year. In fact I may have to keep going forever because I am realising just what an act of defiance not buying stuff really is. When the world feels just too crazy and you are sick of signing petitions about stupid pointless coalmines and saving the barrier reef here is something tangible you can do. Not buying stuff is really a very subversive act.

Two things happened this week that really got me thinking (and it takes a bit to do that), firstly I went to a little sustainability conference. It was designed for teachers and I went along to talk to some of the presenters for a project I am working on. The keynote was Rob Gell, best know as a weatherman but also a very enthusiastic sustainability advocate. He gave a great and inspiring presentation on climate change (or as he calls it global warming because that is what it is). It was another reminder of just what a perilous position we are in and how quickly we need to act.

Then I was procrastinating and looking through Facebook and young Matt had put up a short article about pathological consumption http://www.monbiot.com/2012/12/10/the-gift-of-death/ it is just a short article but it talks about the crazy consumption circle we have got ourselves into. The most astonishing fact was that of all the stuff we buy today only 1% will still be around in 6 months – yep 1% – that is not a typo. Because I was procrastinating I followed the link and got the story of stuff http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-stuff/.

If you follow the link you will come to a short movie that explains it all, how we have been manipulated into buying stuff and the impact it is having on us individually and as a community, nation and world – worth a look I say.

As for fixing stuff – I mended the vacuum cleaner last week – it blew up, sparks and everything. I was all ready to take it to the menders when I thought I would check out youtube first – it turns out it is ridiculously easy to fix – so I fixed it!

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Fixing Stuff Part Three

 

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It looked a lot like this but I was too polite to take a picture so this is off the interweb

 

Where were we? Oh yes I had broken my tablet, tried to fix it and made it a bit more broke and bought a new tablet.

The new tablet was not like the old one (for a start it wasn’t broken), but I just didn’t like it. There was nothing wrong with it but I couldn’t get used to it, I had grown accustomed to my old one and the new one just didn’t cut it. Belatedly I decided I should get the old one fixed. Of course, four months into my not buying stuff I realise now that this is what I should have done in the beginning but I was so much younger and less experienced then…..

I set about finding someone to fix my old tablet – this should be easy enough. First I took it to a friend and asked if he could fix it, after having a look he returned it saying it was not worth the effort. He may be my computer expert friend but why should I listen to him! I took it to the computer shop across the road. This shop sits in a little row of rather random shops, there is:

  • an old milk bar which sells milk, papers, socks and clothing alterations
  • a baker that makes biscuits and pies and could be out of the 1950’s
  • a children’s shoe shop with about five shoes in it (probably a front for organised crime)
  • a psychologist
  • a bottle shop (off licence)
  • a boarded up shop (there always has to be at least one of these in a row of shops)
  • a hairdresser’s that sells pretty good coffee (but never has anyone in there getting a haircut)
  • a little computer fixing shop.

So after ensuring I went to the correct shop, I took it in, full of hope, and asked them to fix it. A couple of days later I got a call to say it wasn’t worth the effort.

About 15 years ago I cycled across France, it rained for 17 days straight, it was a miserable ride but the worse it got the more determined I became to finish it, this quest was nowhere near as miserable but I was determined to finish it. I went back to Google and tried to find another computer repairer. On Gumtree I found a strange and confusing advert for a computer repairperson in North Fitzroy, this was weird enough that it might just work. I rang him and he told me to drop it down.

So I found myself in the back streets of North Fitzroy, in a strange 1960’s or 1970’s housing commission estate, at the back of a house ringing to say I was here. The repairman appeared to let me in and invited me into his house, I began to wonder if this was a good move and considered if I should have thought this through a little more or at least told someone where I was going. Entering what must have been designed as a living room I was surrounded by piles of computers, of every description in various states of dismantlement. And when I say surrounded I am not exaggerating, I have never seen so much computer stuff). The repairman was very nice and I explained my problem to him and how nobody wanted to fix my little toy. After a quick look he did not say ‘its not worth fixing’ but told me he should be able to fix it but it would take a while, I was very happy with that and wandered out of the estate and past the big scary dog feeling quite pleased with myself.

As I left the estate and wandered through the leafy streets of North Fitzroy it occurred to me that the tablet contained all my banking information, my emails and a host of other personal data (what was that thing about thinking it through?). Oh well he seemed like a nice man….

Stay tuned for the (possibly) final instalment, and if any weird stuff appears on this blog it is probably someone who has stolen my identity.