The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Hippie Fail: A new TV August 10, 2009

Filed under: Apartment,green angst — Alden @ 9:41 pm
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I was so ready to be green in my hunt for a TV. First I staked out Freecycle, pressing the update button like a rat pressing the food button. When a TV popped up, I dispatched an email to the owner. “Sorry,” came the reply. “I already promised it to someone else.” What? I just checked the board five minutes ago. My god.

So then I went to craigslist, looking for a TV that would fit into my pretty antique china cabinet. Bingo, 25″ TV for $25. I emailed the guy, and got a reply right away with the address. And a voicemail. “Uhhh, this is Mark.” Pause. “So, I got your message blah blah blah blah, write me back, blah blah blah, or I might shoot myself.” Ok, he didn’t say that, but he sounded like the most depressed person in the world!

Luckily I didn’t have to meet him. He said he would leave the TV downstairs with his doorman. I convinced Dinah to drive me over to the Upper East Side in her car to pick it up. There it was, a massive TV from I would guess 1985. The doorman wheeled it out on a luggage cart, and struggled to put it in Dinah’s trunk.

“Hmm,” he said. “Where’s the remote?”

“Where is the remote?” I said, searching the luggage cart. No remote? Seriously?

I gave the doorman the check, which I should not have done. “Dinah!” I cried as I climbed back into the car. “What the F am I going to do with it?”

“I don’t know! I’m not helping you carry it upstairs.” We drove back over to the Upper West Side, hauled the TV out to the curb, glanced around to see if anyone was looking, and scurried away. There was just no way. I had visions of smashing my pretty little china cabinet to pieces trying to wrestle that ugly behemoth into it. I would have paid $25 not to deal with that stupid thing.

I went out later that day to Best Buy and bought a brand new 19 inch Toshiba. I could carry it home easily on the subway. It’s in my room now, looking shiny and fitting nicely into my cabinet. Technology wins this time, sorry environment.


Freecycle! ie: why don’t more people use it?? July 28, 2009

Filed under: Apartment,Cool sites,Tips — Alden @ 12:49 am
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I found out about the wonderful group Freecycle in an article in the Washington Post Magazine a few months back. I wrote down the name in preparation for my move to New York, and as soon as I got here I looked it up.

Freecycle is a simple Yahoo group that lets you offer and ask for items that otherwise might end up in the landfill. I’ve seen several postings for TVs, shelves, pots and pans, broken Xboxes, in fact, broken everythings, old old Ipods, nylon stockings, bags stuffed with baby clothes, and shoes, and women’s clothing, lots of Ikea furniture, a dog leash, and everything else under the sun.

I suspect competition is fierce. I usually email back right away, but I’ve only successfully been contacted back a couple times, and once was after the original person backed out. Now I am the proud owner of curtain rods. Before I saw that post, I had been wondering about where to buy some. I went to the owner’s apartment right after work, wandering up a foreign neighborhood with her address in hand. She buzzed me in, we introduced ourselves, and she told me their backstory of the curtains with a kind of devotion, butI told her I was grateful to have them, and she handed them to me.

The thing about Freecycle is that you have to be open to the chances the universe hands you, not picky. You have to accept that the curtain rods don’t quite match, or the coffee table has cat scratches on it. But if you are patient, you could probably accumulate all the trappings of a normal apartment over the course of a few months: clothing, furniture, appliance that are only “mediocre.”

I too have offered up an old orange plastic trashcan. The new owner sent me a thank you email. She seemed happy with what I had discarded. And that made me happy.

I’m absolutely smitten.