Monkey Mind

confusedStarted a few posts over the last six weeks or so, but most have remained as rough drafts. Not exactly writer’s block, but alas, things aren’t flowing like usual.

Ideas germinating in my monkey mind!

Now Everyone Loves Customer Service!

Well, well, well, perhaps Frank at the store or Lorraine on the phone are not a complete idiots.

People are slowly, very slowly, figuring out the level of crazy that the service industry deals with on a daily basis. This is the last industry where bullying is acceptable under the guise of the customer is always right. The bullying is so unconscious that people don’t even realize they are doing it. Management and corporate policies make it impossible for there to be consequences for the actions of bullying customers but there is always consequences for the employee trying to enforce a policy that a weak management team undermines at every step.

Minimalism and Death

You can’t take it with you. Are the things you leave the legacy you want? Ah future children, here is your great great great aunt’s cell phone she dropped in the tub back in 2006.

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

About 80% of my day is spent lying to customers. I hate lying all the time, it’s not good for your spirit. I do it for my own selfish self protection. Sometimes the myth of the lie is more comforting that the truth. There is a good chance I might have just quoted Lisa Simpson.

The Cult of Busy

I hate telling people how busy I am because it’s such a cliche. I hate being busy cause I have zero time to think, problem solve or innovate. All I do is react. If your job is just putting out fires all day (ignore this thought if you are an actual fire fighter) there is a very good chance the fires are being started for all the wrong reasons. Okay that makes no sense, but like I said, this why these posts are sitting in a draft folder.

Minimalism During a Pandemic

Things have certainly been easier for sure. Fewer bills and less stuff to keep track of and maintain. And it’s all paid for! That’s good when an economy based on buying stuff crashes and burns.

Once the monkey mind settles, I will expand on these thoughts.
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Uncharted Territory

we-got-shitWhat can I say that is any different than exactly what millions of people have already said?

I guess the comforting thing is that we are all in uncharted territory together. Nobody’s really had to deal with this on a global scale in over 100 years so while there are protocols and technologies to use, a lot of us are just winging it. Some of us more so than others.  

Yup, in the world of winging it, the queue is long, the relief cheque is delayed, grandma is old and vulnerable, and the “easy” bread recipe produced a loaf shaped like a penis.  It’s a lot to take in.

As someone who is very self-sufficient when it comes to getting shit done, I can tell you it’s okay to wing it. I cannot tell you how many disaster DIY, cooking and writing projects that ended up right in the trash. It happens and the results range from rage, mild frustration and fits of giggles.  In my modest level of success all I can say is that it gets easier.

Easier doesn’t mean you won’t ride out the roller coaster of emotions ranging from rage, fear, OMG has he always breathed that loudly and finally am I the only one who does not give a shit about Tiger King?

People are resilient even if we don’t know it.   

Isolation

soap2As we hunker down to ride out COVID-19 I started thinking about isolation.

I’d been wanting to write a post about Bubble People for a while but things changed in the last two weeks.

Bubble People are those distracted people who wander around with absolutely no awareness of the world around them. I loathe them mainly cause they almost always have their eyes glued to a phone, blasting music on headphones and weaving all over the sidewalk, road or bike path. I routinely end up slamming on my brakes so that I do not run into them because they step into the path of on coming traffic without looking.

Bubble People piss me off because they do stupid shit and then seek forgiveness by saying sorry. I would rather they not do stupid stuff in the first place and then there is no reason to seek forgiveness. But bubble people live in a bubble and more often than not, they fail to see the consequences of their actions. A Non Bubble Person reacts and everyone is safe and the Damn Bubble People continue to live in blissful ignorance, stepping into traffic, blocking entrances and exits and bellowing into their cell phones on speaker phone in a public place.

And then two weeks ago I became A Bubble Person.

There are a lot of excuses I could list here, but the gist of it is that I knew something was wrong, but because I’d been struggling to get to work in under 100 minutes every day, I ignored my gut. Everything turned out okay but the situation still bothers me, over two weeks later.

I have an older neighbour, I’ll call him Sergei, he’s a little odd, mostly because he’s older and a bit of a hoarder. He grew up in a communist country in a time when shortages were the norm so hoarding is a habit. Unfortunately, hoarders are not well liked in apartment buildings because their excess stuff causes problems for staff and tenants so people resent them and aren’t friendly. I’ve spoken to him several times and made perfectly normal small talk while waiting for the elevator.

I knew something was up when I was rushing out to work early one morning and there was a smell by his apartment door. Frustrated by cancelled buses and having to stand in sub zero weather waiting,  praying for a bus to arrive, I kept going but I knew something was off.

Sure enough he’d fallen or passed out by his door. His employer grew worried when he missed work for three days in a row and they called the police who did a wellness check and sure enough he was in need of assistance. He was pretty confused at first but once the paramedics got some fluids and oxygen into him he perked up and was lucid enough to argue about going to the hospital. Even though we are in the middle of a world pandemic, the hospital is the best place for him right now.

I knew something was wrong and I should have stopped, knocked on his door, called 911 and the building staff but I kept going because I didn’t want to be late for work. My work is not that important and Sergei’s life was in danger. Work would have not cared one bit if I was late or absent. I was in my bubble because it was easier.

I can’t undo what I did, or in this case, didn’t do, but I can recognize that I need to trust my gut and recognize that when I am being pushed into a bubble to pop that sucker.

Electric Jo!

toothbrush-battle2This week my electric toothbrush stopped working. I  think I bought it in 2005 or 2006, all I remember is that it was very cold outside.

I had more than a decade of use with it so for $90 I can’t really complain. It probably cost me at least 2 to 3 times the cost in replacement brushes over the last 14-15 years, but the thing was pretty indestructible as I dropped it, banged it, accidentally knocked it into a sink full of water and on one occasion, almost knocked it into the toilet. After that I moved it to a not-anywhere-near-the-toilet-but-not-as-convenient-to-the-plug location on the bathroom counter. 

 
I decided this week that it really wasn’t worth it to replace it. It was a good gadget, always reliable and it cleaned my teeth really well. I had some problems with my back molars that required a small brush to get in there but those problems have been fixed so there is really no reason to spend another $100 on a new brush when I have several perfectly good old school toothbrushes in my cupboard. I always used a regular toothbrush when traveling and while I can afford to replace the toothbrush, it just isn’t as important as it used to be. 

 
I think at one point I was swayed by the allure of the idea of owning an electric toothbrush, my tiny step toward announcing  I have made it, I have an electric tooth brush.  It may seem silly for many of you, but to me it was a very big deal. The goal of living debt free, putting money in the bank and now owning an electric toothbrush. Having my cake and eating it too and then brushing my teeth after with the Electric Toothbrush of Affluence.

 
green-brushThe thing is, I don’t think anyone cared or noticed that I owned an electric toothbrush. In the world of fancy gadgets to own, it’s laughable. A lot of people have electric toothbrushes and think nothing of the cost or even considerate one a luxury item. 

 
 Then I thought about how much work this brush sort of was, I had to buy special brushes, I was constantly fiddling the cord because I never lived in a place where the bathroom plug is located near a spacious area of counter top. And there was that nagging thought always in the back of my mind that I might break it or knock it into the toilet or break it as I knock it away to prevent it from falling into the toilet.

 

So back to old school brushing which is easier now cause I can brush my teeth in the shower and I can make a huge droolie mess and not arrive at work with the dreaded toothpaste residue stains all over my shirt which to me is my greatest I have made it moment.

Mental Minimalism

punch1It’s complicated.

No It’s Not.

I thought about this while swimming laps last week. While I am a minimalist in the sense of possessions,  I realized that I am more of a mental minimalist.

Does that mean I am intentionally dumbing myself down?

No!

Wait, yes!

Years ago someone told me that their interpretation of KISS wasn’t:

keep it simple stupid

but

keep it stupid, simple

The idea stuck.

We (by we I also include myself) seem to be hell bent on adding to our own mental overload which leads to decision fatigue and irritability cause we never stop having to think about trivial and stupid things and then there is no mental energy for learning or growth thinkin’.

It’s chaos.

I have a theory that people purposely create chaos so that when they fail, which happens a lot, it’s fucking chaos, so they can justify that the chaos was just too difficult a challenge to overcome and that’s why they failed. If one eliminates the chaos, then one might have to soul search why one failed and that might bring up, you know, feelings. And accountability.

That I know cause I have failed a lot. I rocked the fail. I say this through gritted teeth but I almost always learn from these failures. And the whole feelings part really really sucks.

One of the reasons I do not fit in the corporate world is that I am all about clean lines and efficiency and the corporate world is not all about clean lines and efficiency. CEOs and other richer than me people with letters after their job titles say/want efficiency but it does happen because they don’t want it to happen.

The thinking appears to be crisis mode is easier to manage than avoiding the crisis in the first place. That takes a bit of effort and planning. Plus office politics and gross incompetency derails that idea pretty quickly.

I have tried over and over again in the last 15+ years to get managers to understand the importance of writing stuff down and cross referencing the info so it’s super duper accessible but time after time I just get resistance and the tired old “well it’s your job to do answer questions” or “you have to learn to roll with the punches.”

Or we could answer the questions before the questions have to be asked! Or we could create a punch free environment in the first place.

So now I’ve outlined in a very long winded way all your faults. Hurrah for me!

Now what?

Dumb it down! It really is that simple.

Get rid of the minor, yet mentally draining things in your day. You can’t control the boss’ 17 point plan for paperclip inventory and distribution, but you can put your bills on auto-pay and check the weather forecast the night before to figure out what to wear the next day. Pick up that book on the bookshelf that you want to read and just start reading. And if it’s no good, give it away. To a library or a thrift store. Don’t obsess which friend would like the book or not. That’s your friend’s mental clutter, not yours.

Create a system and if it fails, tweak it. It’s going to be messy and inelegant. There’s probably typos in this post and after my swim I will read it again and fix the mistakes. No big deal and not worth obsessing over.

Work steadily, one thing at a time for full mental sharpness.

It’s really that stupid!

I Am More Than Tacos

victorian-cubicle-jJust over a year ago I decided to write my thoughts down in a journal. I kept reading all kinds of stuff about bullet journals and productivity and efficiency and just gettin’ shit done. I am all about gettin’ shit done, but then I realized my life is pretty boring and I really don’t need to organize my day with a bullet journal. But I liked the ideas of bullet points so I just started writing down ideas in point form.

I am getting to the taco part. Eventually.

I reviewed the two small journals that I have filled over the last 15 months and all in all this has been a good thing. I liked that I can completely vent to the journal and sometimes I actually feel better after. Writing shit down has helped me think about goals (realistic and unrealistic) and even on occasion, allowed me to think of a strategy to figure out a problem.

So most of what I wrote down fell into these categories:

Work

To work at Chipmunk Inc, you need a lot of patience. Super human amounts of patience. It’s exhausting. Not just with the customers, but the Overlords who seem hell bent on making Things As Difficult As Possible. So I wrote down a lot of my frustrations with a department that only operates in crisis mode. If there is no crisis, one has to be created. Efficiency and ease are not part of the plan. You can see how frustrating and confusing this environment can be if you love efficiency and ease.

Early on I actually wrote out some notes for an idea at work to make things easier and more efficient but that pitch went nowhere. Then slowly (I am not the brightest bulb when it comes to office politics) learned that the crisis mode is never going to go away. People will go out of their way to sabotage ideas (especially when they promote efficiency and ease) because by doing so, their job may be eliminated cause they will not needed. So crisis mode has to ever present. Like when I made an innocent joke about someone defrauding the company in an email and someone had to jump in and give me a talking to, because the person making money selling our product illegally might get triggered and complain. Some might call this supervisin’, I call it busy work. Or micromanaging. Take your pick.

So venting to the journal about unmanageable work work load, incompetent leadership and a complete absence of resources to do the job, actually worked. I was slightly less stressed and depressed. I was still depressed and stressed but I was able to work through it.

But.

But my temper did get the best of me. I asked politely over and over and over again, nine times in total for a very reasonable concession concerning our work flow and it was rejected over and over and over again. By three different supervisors. It was extremely frustrating because the ones rejecting the request over and over and over again had never actually done the job of their subordinates so they were unfamiliar (oh why am I being polite, I mean clueless) why this request was so important and why I kept pushing for a change.

Sooooo if you only respond to crisis mode, then I will create a crisis. I probably pushed the envelope a little too far (apparently my co-workers were highly entertained by my shenanigans) but the it worked. I had a good idea what was going to happen next, a meeting with a couple of supervisors, so I took the time to write down in my journal how I was going to approach things in this meeting. I was able to organized and write out my strategy. Sure this strategy involved out and out manipulation of emotions which I don’t like to do, but it had to be done. In the end I had a plan and was prepared for the meeting AND I won. AND I got a high five from a co-worker.

Worth the cost of a $3 notebook.

Okay I am getting to the taco part.

Waiting for Public Transit

And waiting. And waiting, and waiting. Last February I actually spent 15 hours in one week waiting for the bus. There are many entries about the incompetency of the transit higher ups (I always thank the drivers, the problems are not their fault). There were a lot of notes about the bus not showing up, the bus being late, having to walk the last 1-2 km to my destination because getting two buses to connect was Not Going To Happen. Then I realized, it’s okay to be pissed off.

There is a lot of talk about learning to not sweat stuff or go with the flow and not to be irritated. Nope, I want to be pissed off. There is really no reason to internalize my annoyance. No sane person should be okay with standing in -38C weather for an hour waiting for a bus. This endless waiting took any gumption out of me when I finally arrived at work, but bills have to be paid.

I lost my hat and I was a little bummed but it will eventually go to charity and I can buy another hat.

Random Insights

taco-j1The main goal of journaling was to gain insight and possibly think of things to write for this blog. So here are a few examples of my deep thoughts.

Finally the part about the damn tacos!

I really like to make lists. I come from a long ling of list makers so it’s not unexpected. To do lists, bills to be paid lists, budgets which are lists but with numbers, grocery lists. Lists of DIY tasks and the materials I required. I made tacos quite often last year. I’m gonna brag here, but my veggie tacos are fucking delicious. But after recording a lot of lists involving taco ingredients and very little insight, I declared I am more than tacos!

I had schadenfreude one day and then felt bad later. Now I only wish schadenfreude on dictators.

I am always in denial when I get a cold. People get colds in winter, get over it you idiot.

Recognition that it’s okay to spend a little money on yourself. I don’t know if anyone noticed because people live in their own bubble.

I hate being dishonest day in and day out. Lies of omissions, little white lies, big whoppers. I had an honest conversation one day and when the person received a polite but honest answer, he looked like I’d punched him in the face. I felt relaxed after being honest but also a little disappointed that I have to avoid the truth in order to avoid getting screamed at all day long.

I bought a couch, twice. Nearly went mad. I am sitting on it, it’s quite comfy.

If I was rich, I’d be all about stealth wealth.

I should be better about giving to charity. I have been.

No matter how hard you plan and execute sometimes things just end up falling apart. So the lesson learned is try not to have too many things that can break and then you don’t have to deal with the constant upkeep. More often than not, I don’t need what I think I desperately need. You can just turn your back on things and everything will be okay. The mental health crisis in the US has turned my job into that of a life coach/therapist to help people manage their stuff. No, of course that is not my actual job.

I was sad when Bill’s sister died young. Life is unfair. We all know this, even little kids know this, but it’s never fun to be reminded.

Watching people who are competent in their lives is comforting. Some times I am jealous of their accomplishments but then I think about it and realize it’s cause they learned how to do the work and followed through. I still think a lot of success comes down to luck but also good planning and execution. Don’t get distracted by your jealousy but focus on what they did to be successful.

I miss quiet places.

If you haven’t quite figured it out, I plan to continue writing in my journal and eating veggie tacos. You might want to give both a try.

The Dumpster Fire

dumpster1This is a weird one to write. The Dumpster Fire has been a miserable experience but at the same time a positive experience. There are times when the experience felt like I was part of a bizarre psych experiment or starring in my own version of cheesy sitcom, possibly a comic opera, except there was no laugh track, a wacky sidekick, but on occasion, there was singing.

Us at Chipmunk are trapped in an impossible situation because our department is meant to fail so it can be shut down and moved to the Chipmunk Head Office In The Land of Cheap Acorns.

The strange part about this disappointing turn of events is that intellectual curiosity took me on a different path as I tried to understand the incompetence, secrecy and impulsive decision making that started the fire in the first place.

Because of the dumpster fire, I…

Picked up an accounting book at a thrift store for $ 2

I most likely will have to read it several times to get my head around all the concepts. Reading the accounting book was nowhere near as scary as I thought reading an accounting book would be. Like there would be monsters or snakes lurking among the pages, poised to attack me with a calculator and wonky Excel file? A little weird to be reading it for leisure, but you know, sorry not sorry. I wanted to understand if what I was experiencing was normal or abnormal. Spoiler: it’s abnormal.

Started learning more about finance

I don’t think I will finish this journey with a finance degree but I have learned a lot of about the business side of finance. I am pretty good with my money (I have to be, I work at Chipmunk) but now I understand how people shift money around in business. Some methods are ethical and some not so ethical. I also learned not to be afraid of credit. Credit can be a tool if you know what you are doing. I know what I am doing.

Spent more time with like minded people

I found myself in a community where I can learn new skills and leave the dumpster fire thinking behind me. It’s like I am having a shower and scrubbing the dysfunction away with a Loofah of New Ideas.

Conceded that people are out of touch

And sometimes it’s best not to explain why and how. I found myself over and over again explaining what I thought were simple concepts but grew more and more frustrated when people didn’t understand them. I thought I was failing because I could not articulate the ideas, but it was more a case of the people just not caring to understand. People are perfectly capable of understanding but choose not to because it’s easier. Speaking of easier…

courtAlways, as often as you can, put the ball in the other person’s court

Not always nice or moral but time and time again I have seen this tactic work. If you want something to go away, ignore it, and force the other person to react. Most of the time, the other person will not jump through hoops to get what they want.

 

It’s okay to feel pissed off

The positivity people always trying to force you to see everything as a learning experience and how to build skills and insights from the failure and get better and never have any emotions over the fact that Things Are On Fire! I concluded that I was pissed off at being in a situation where every single resource has been removed or downgraded and no sane person would not feel some sort of emotion. I often have to remind people that I am not a robot. 

Being wrong is not so terrible

I used to hate to be wrong so I would do all this research and planning and checking to make sure I wasn’t wrong. I always felt that I was wrong because I was not diligent in my research or wasn’t smart enough to figure out the problem or understand the situation. It felt like a moral failing to not understand. Now I know (slightly) better, no matter how hard you try, things don’t necessarily work out. The community of people I’ve joined are wrong all the time and they seem to function without scorn or shame.

Eventually the dumpster will burn down into a messy goo of metal and plastic and we will all move on but when that time comes, I will have a greater sense of what is and is not expected of me and what I expect of others. While being pissed off about a situation is okay, not having to experience it again, is better.

Gadgets Make You Mean

Did you hear the one about the minimalist and the gadget company?

sad-robot2I’ve been a minimalist for a long time. The main reason is that I earn a low income and there is little room in my budget for wants. Everything I buy is a need. Silly things like rent, food and a bus pass pretty much eat up 68% of my income. I put 10-20% in the bank and live very simply. Since I can’t afford to buy anything extra, my living space is compact and super efficient. This really helps me keep my sanity. I don’t have to keep track of things or maintain things or worry about the things breaking. You do not have to worry about breaking/repairing/replacing something you do not own.

So why do you work at a gadget company? Jobs, even shitty ones, are hard to come by and I need a job. I also thought that the gadget company would possibly go public and my financial situation would improve enough that I could increase my savings. No crazy ideas of owning fast car (or just owning a car) or a fancy house but some money in a retirement fund. Now that I think about it, even my idea of a windfall is pretty minimalist.

Before I talk about what it’s like for a minimalist to work at a gadget company, I want to explain a few things about the Gadget. I don’t want to get fired/sued so I will be vague about the gadget. I’ll just call it Chipmunk.

In defense of Chipmunk, it’s a pretty handy gadget, that’s well made, and it helps people save time and be more organized. You can totally survive in our modern society without a Chipmunk.

In no way does the Chipmunk save a life. So, if your Chipmunk dies, you will not die. It’s not an insulin pump, or a pacemaker or a wildly expensive life saving cancer drug. It’s basically a useful toy.

I work in technical support at Chipmunk Inc and this is what I have discovered about gadgets. It’s not a pretty picture I paint, and I am sure many would disagree. But there is something about a dependence on a gadget that brings out the worst in people.

Gadgets Can Make You Stupid

At Chipmunk Inc, we try to work with you when you do stupid stuff. Minor stupid stuff like when you throw away the receipt for an item with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, or you call us on speaker phone (you sound like Donald Duck to us). You call us from your car without your Chipmunk and get mad when we tell you that you need to be in front of the Chipmunk to troubleshoot it.

If I have to tell you why it’s not a good idea to call tech support when driving, well you just proved that gadgets can make you stupid.

We try to be fair when you break, drop, dunk in water, run over with your car (the list of Chipmunk abuse is endless) to get you a new Chipmunk.

And then you lie about how your Chipmunk mysteriously broke.

We can see the tire treads. We can see that you left it on top of the radiator and melted it. We know it didn’t get wet in a light rain shower, but you dropped it in the toilet. We can tell when you are trying to submit doctored documents to get a free Chipmunk under warranty. You are not fooling anyone. Frankly it’s pretty dumb to spend hours and hours trying to stonewall us or manipulate us to get a free gadget that costs less than $200. C’mon, go big. If you are going to invest so much time and effort into deceit and fraud, go scam someone else for a couple of thousands of dollars. Aren’t you worth more than $5/hr with your scamming? Have some dignity.

Gadgets Can Make You Entitled

Sometimes the Chipmunk breaks. It’s made in China by people who just don’t give a poop. Frankly I’m surprised it doesn’t break more. That’s the world we live in. If you haven’t destroyed it by being stupid and lying about it, we will give you a free one if it falls under the warranty period.

The Chipmunk has three main parts, A, B and C. If part A breaks, we give you a new part A. It’s all modular so there is nothing to unscrew or install because frankly you are too stupid to not screw this up and then sue us for a billion dollars (tip – we don’t have a billion dollars). If we cannot get you to not use your Chipmunk as a door stop, then we aren’t going to ask you to do any soldering. That being said, if Part A breaks, and Parts B and C work fine, we are going to give you a new part A. Not a Part B and a Part C because you are angry or sad that part A broke. No. There is nothing wrong with parts B and C. Please go be entitled to some other company, I am busy.

Quite often people think that because they own the most expensive Chipmunk, they should get special treatment and get their gadget replaced first and screw the other people with their inferior Chipmunks. Don’t you know who I am? Nope. All Chipmunk customers are equal no matter their income.

If you Chipmunk does not fall under a warranty claim because you killed it, or it just wore out we will help you get a replacement, but you can’t expect us to give you a free one. The same way Toyota does not give people new tires for their cars if the tires wear out after ten years. We are a business not a charity.

Gadgets Make You Mean

This is an ugly truth.

I consider myself an expert because I’ve been screamed at and cursed out by tens of thousands of people when their gadget breaks. I’m told I should expect this in my job, but in all honesty, it’s disgraceful when an adult has a complete and utter temper tantrum because their toy broke. This is the mark that the gadget has made you lose sight of not just decency and but reality.

When you call someone incompetent or a loser or threatens to have them fired or burn down their office, you have crossed the line from upset to down right mean, possibly unstable. And yes, this happens a lot.

I get it, you love your Chipmunk and you worked hard for your Chipmunk. It comes down to the idea that if you can no longer function as a rational person and are so stressed and anxious because you are constantly worried about your Chipmunk breaking or being stolen or losing it, then that’s a sign that an item in your life is no longer bringing value or joy but worry and stress.

It’s time to set the Chipmunk free.

The story of a Couch (Part Deux)

 

new-new-couchSo I bought a couch online and it was delivered. Granted it was delivered to the wrong address despite confirming the address with the driver, and the big 52 labelled at the entrance should have tipped off the delivery driver that this was not 57.

But after a few phone calls/texts and some help from a couple of coworkers, I had a new couch.

It was an okay couch. It was shorter than I expected and perfectly solid, but it was not the sink in and melt couch comfort bliss. I wanted Couch Perfection! So I packed it up and returned it. It was sweaty work but fairly easy and I got this chore done in under 90 minutes. Please keep in mind that any errand I run (except to the bank and the library) is a 2-3 hours chore so 90 minutes was a huge win. Bonus! No cuts or bruises!

For Couch Part Deux, I went to the actual store, braving 40 Celsius weather, and measured and tested every single couch in my price range. Note: mid-century modern couches look cool but aren’t all that comfortable. Maybe that’s why Don Draper drank so much. Or least a reason why he drank so much.

I wandered the air conditioned bliss of the showroom while the sales staff ignored me and then I found a somewhat ugly but fluffy, soft, and OMG, a reclining love seat and I knew that this was the couch for me. I sat on it and read a book on my phone while the sales staff continued to ignore me until it was time to go home and order the couch online, which I did. A week later I was happily camped out on my couch in pure Couch Bliss Recline.

So What Dd I Learn?

The answer changes daily hourly.

There isn’t a lot of insight related to my couch buying folly. I still struggle with Big Purchases (anything over $50) even though I am getting better, and that’s okay. You will, however, never see me buy a gag gift or an object just to fill a space (I have no space). Everything must have a purpose!

Except for the occasional book, cable or bike item, I really really suck at buying stuff online.

It’s okay to change your mind and admit an error. If something isn’t working, you (by you, I mean me) shouldn’t get trapped in the mindset that I went to so much trouble to get this item I should keep it. It’s okay to go to a little more trouble and get what you want, otherwise you will just resent your purchase.

Perfection = bad.
Couch perfection = good.

The Story of a Couch

buying-a-housej2This is the story about the minimalist (that’s me) who needed wanted a couch.

I suck at shopping. Really, really, really suck at shopping. Most of the time the decision is made for me when it comes to rampant consumerism. I just don’t have room for anything. With only about 200 square feet of living space, one must conserve. No, the answer is not more living space. The answer is to live comfortably, but efficiently. A tricky balance for sure!

Buying stuff is remarkably easy now thanks to the inter-web but also incredibly difficult if you are prone to decision paralysis which I am a fully fledged sufferer.

Pretty much any item over $50 sends me into a panic. It’s not an affordability thing as I recently calculated all the credit I have; a ridiculous amount of over $80,000 Canadian dollars. Even if I bought the need/want couch with my line of credit, the cost would be like $3 a month in interest charges until I paid it off.

It’s an over thinking thing. This is how the overthinking part comes into play. While researching, I check out the reviews in an attempt to be a thoughtful consumer which you would think would help but this makes things worse! Six reviews for the same item naturally will have three reviews saying this is the greatest product ever invented and you are a fool for not buying a hundred of them!

Yet the other three reviews proclaim that this item is the most ill thought, poorly manufactured, over priced piece of merde since that episode of The Simpsons when homer3Homer was given carte blanche to design a car.

So this brings me to the couch. I had an old couch, but it was old and the city is no place for a couch, so it went to a special farm in the country to run and play with other couches and the occasional ottoman.

In theory I don’t need a couch, I have a bed and pillows so that should suffice but deep down my the many levels of craziness, I want a couch. Couches, primarily new couches, are a true sign of adultness. Not investments, not a home, a car, a spouse/children, but a couch.

So this really isn’t about minimalism or couches or even Homer Simpson, but our own lunacy about our lives. When it comes to stuff we are all a little nuts. It’s not the decision paralysis that is making me crazy, it’s the worry about making the wrong decisions that is making me crazy. It’s perfectly normal, some might say sane, to be concerned about making the correct decision when it comes to a big purchase, but we can’t always get it right. We just have to be mindful. So my absolute lunacy about buying a couch is not actually insanity, but me being mindful of what I want to add to my life.

Oh boy, I just realized, I Am An Adult!