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My Year of Buying Nothing

That time I answered questions from the audience (Part 2)

By Lee Simpson

In my previous Year of Buying Nothing (YBN) post, I answered questions put to me in person, by interviewers and in the comments section of this blog. Here goes with the remainder of those inquiries.

Q What's the hardest part of your YBN?

A Oscar Wilde once wickedly remarked, “I can resist anything except temptation.” It turns out that for me, while temptation can be resisted, it is less easily forgotten. It’s the small things that cry out to me. As the offspring of canny Scots who lived through the Depression, I have had a lifetime’s practice in turning away from the big-ticket items in shop windows and catalogues. That crimson sofa and those gold bangles don’t even cause me to break stride. Nope, what gives me a case of lust-to-acquire is the mundane: that felted wool ladybug I know our grandson would love; the latest Inspector Banks novel on offer at the airport bookstore and that sassy bow tie, spotted online, that my husband would wear with pride on his first day in front of his class. But it's not that I give in and purchase these oddball items; it’s that I keep thinking about them. Recently, I dreamt that I bought a gadget that made crosses in the skins of tomatoes in order to make peeling easier after boiling. That this has become the stuff of my dream world is so depressing, I'm going to move on.

Q What's the best part of your YBN?

A Easy one! How very kind people are. After moaning online about my lack of foresight in seed acquisition, my daughter asked me to start her seeds for her. But surprise, surprise, she only needed half the resultant plants. Then the ladies at church gave me lily bulbs and a pal brought kale plants as a hostess gift. Meanwhile, my husband bought a crisp, white linen shirt for me one rainy vacation day with the excuse that he didn’t want to dine with me in a wet top. A visiting friend, who drools over toiletries and all things pretty smelling even more than I do, also claimed that she had received a gift-with-purchase of mini-cosmetics in my brand and couldn’t take it back on the plane as carry-on. Apart from the fact that it seems that most of my nearest and dearest are inveterate, inventive liars, I'm touched beyond measure at these and other innumerable kindnesses.

Q What’s on your list of 'must buys' come Jan. 1?

A Paper towels, face cream and a good, warm black coat.

Q How has your YBN changed your buying and using habits?

A The paper towels will be used only for one thing: the micro-wave cooking of bacon and the subsequent draining of said greasy pig product. I can live happily with rags for all other kitchen uses, so I reckon that roll will last between four to five years. The face cream will be my favorite brand, but I'll use it every second night and merely dab it on, dampening my finger tips to work it in. The coat? Guy’s Frenchy’s (east coast second-hand chain), here I come!


Rev. Lee Simpson is a writer in Lunenburg, N.S. New posts of YBN will appear every other Friday. You can also check out a short documentary about Lee at http://www.ucobserver.org/video/2014/04/ybn/.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
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