JacketGate Part II: The Chills of Consumerism

December 28th, 2009 → Leave a comment

JacketGate continues today as I do one last day of preparation for my three week stint at the MacDowell Colony. I am still unsatisfied with the situation of being warm enough when I’m out there.

It rained yesterday in San Francisco and my friend Wei-Ming and I wandered the Stonestown Galleria, the Goodwill in West Portal, the Big 5 at Lakeshore Plaza and the Sports Authority at Serramonte Center in search of an ugly jacket and other forms of warmth that will allow me to survive an East Coast winter.

Going shopping yesterday was a horrific experience for me as I’m trying to purge my belongings in half. I borrowed my family’s Prius and the parking lots were a clusterf*ck of drivers, all who felt entitled to the same slot of parking space. Under the din of bargain hunting immigrant families, teen mothers with babies in tow, and people I probably went to school with who have room in their homes for more crap they don’t need… we did frenzied laps around Macy’s, started asking the mannequins for directions, and emerged with a decently warm, below the knee jacket. It wasn’t the LL Bean or North Face Michelin Man uglyness I’d hoped for, but it was the closest thing I could find. Perhaps it is the warmest jacket for sale in the city.

The damage was $147. Mind you, I’ve never spent that kind of money on a coat ever before. So it’s kind of a dramatic purchase for me.

Then came similar nauseating choreography around the aisles of Ross and Big 5. Trying snow shows on at Sports Authority. Starting at the ones that were $39, but soon, I find myself putting on $49 shoes, then $79 shoes… and suddenly…. $100 shoes– because anything less than $100 was too narrow or tight.

At each purchase, I presented my card over the sales counter, mostly in denial. Trying not to look.

I spent $100 on snow shoes. Another $45 on snow pants. I just bought a bomber hat on ebay for $15. It’s getting mailed straight to me in New Hampshire.

Of course, after I got home from the puke-tastic day of feeding the economy to acquire things that I swear I could have borrowed from someone somewhere, I get an email from a woman on Craigslist responding to my ad post to barter my obscene amounts of yarn for a winter coat and snow shoes. She had exactly what I wanted. Serel brand snow shoes and an LL Bean Jacket.

I screamed. If only she had written earlier….

I guess I can always return all these purchases. Stay true to my martrydom of buying nothing and enjoy the thrills of old time “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” bartering. There are issues with bartering with her though… The coat is one size too large (L) and we’re not sure if the shoes will fit. She also lives in San Jose but has agreed to meet me tonight in Redwood City to do this exchange.

I also leave in the morning, so if after I find her items work out, my folks will have to return all this crap I just bought on my behalf for a refund. Not to mention, the pressure of wanting to make this barter exchange work after having driven all the way to Redwood City. And my father now wants to come with me in case this lady turns out to be a killer. My folks are very funny this way. I’ve been living in LA alone all this time, but when I’m here, they insist on driving me to places I could walk to, and coming with me as my personal security detail for benign Craigslist transactions.

The great irony of all this is that when I land at MacDowell there will probably be a store next door to the colony called “Really Warm Ugly Jackets, Only $5.”

Anyway, looking forward to my journey ahead. To being able to go for walks in my warm/not warm coat. And soak in the luxury of time and space. I’m actually making a commitment to keep the imbibement of hot toddies to a minimum… as it seems to be the trap of an artist residency… lots of time to unwind… perhaps too much. But before the joys of MacDowell, can I ask that this city stop bilking me of money so I can sit in a cabin in the woods and RELAX already?!?

I’m telling you folks. Life should not be this complicated. This is JacketGate.

Category: buy nothing year, crafty

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