About a month ago, I found a place to live, by myself. It’s a cute studio on Telegraph Hill. Yes, there really are wild parrots here. As you can see from the picture of the kitchen - wait, actually that’s practically the whole apartment - everything is small. The fridge is just under the countertop. I haven’t seen one this small since I lived in London in the ’80s and the milkman delivered pints of milk, OJ, and eggs. A small fridge for me actually means fresher food, since I can’t let things rot away in the “crisper”, or “rotter” as my friend Arthur calls it.
I guess I’ve always had a slight fetish for small things. Small keeps things simple - and possibly sustainable, because a small apartment means less stuff. And less stuff should mean less impact on the environment. A consequence of small things and small spaces, is that it takes more intention to winnow things out, which promotes a presence of mind for me that clarifies and simplifies the million potential tasks that float around my brain every day. E.F. Schumacher wrote in Small is Beautiful:
It is clear, therefore, that Buddhist economics must be very different from the economics of modern materialism, since the Buddhist sees the essence of civilisation not in a multiplication of wants but in the purification of human character. Character, at the same time, is formed primarily by a man's work. And work, properly conducted in conditions of human dignity and freedom, blesses those who do it and equally their products.
Most of the book he talks about the problem of economic growth and it’s unchecked impact on the environment. (I would add people / human relations, too) I think that with sustainability and organics becoming ever more popular this year, which is good, our intention should remain to solve the problem of our economy only measuring “growth” as the ultimate good. I’m not against economic growth - but it’s not the end, it’s the means. Read Tara’s blog to find out more about Genuine Progress Indicator versus Gross Domestic Product.
Speaking about living with less, I’ve joined a local hourly car-sharing service called ZipCar - I figure since parking is $200 a month in the apartment’s garage, I might as well spend that money on actually driving a car instead of parking it. With ZipCar, they pay for the insurance and even gasoline. The tradeoff is that a car is not always available in your neighborhood in the most popular times, but they do take reservations. And it’s really only on weekends - and I could have walked to another neighborhood and got a car. I guess a lot of people in North Beach use zipcar! During the week, it’s been really easy to get a car when and where I want it at a moment’s notice, with their online bookings or even over the phone. It’s really come in handy during the move and I plan to use it quite a bit!
This post also marks a slight change in the blog’s focus, or at least back to its roots of being just a personal space for me to ruminate. I will be mashing everything together now - one blog is enough for me to keep up with! I’m combining the geek stuff, with the sustainability stuff, with the entrepreneurship, and travelogues, etc. If you want to subscribe to only one category I will be setting up separate feeds on those pages, which I’ve added to the menu up top.