Spent the afternoon at the Really Really Free Market.
Anarchy is a concept which loses all practicality once it leaves the realm of Zippo art and t-shirt sayings.
I say that as the most liberal of all liberals. No offense to my leftist brothers and sisters.
1. Get rid of huge bag of junk taking up space in apartment.
2. Sit outside in the sunshine. Meet new people and have interesting, random conversations.
3. Get phone number/email of hot 22 year-old vegan tail in black hoodie and form-fitting jeans. Said 22 year-old has abusive stepfather and strong feminist/artsy streak. We get together to talk about regime change and do it in the vagyroscope. DAILY.
[For further detail, please see Fig 1.1: Wes Bentley's character in 1999's American Beauty].
4. Leave with enhanced sense of community and accomplishment. I LOVE YOU, TOTO. IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL. THIS PLANET IS A LOVE SMOOTHIE AND I AM BUT ONE TINY DROP.
Taking a cab to get there really helped set it off. Because really. Who doesn’t spend money to give stuff away for free?
I thought I could make it – only 3 avenues and 7 blocks, but halfway there I crapped out. (P.S. I didn’t really crap, I just meant I gave up and hailed a taxi).
I lug my bag o’ goods through the gate and choose a sunny spot. I start laying out my blanket and already I'm surrounded by 20 people.
Scarface on VHS goes first, to a woman with a 7 year old. Should I feel bad about that? For some reason I don’t.
The next 4 items are gone as soon as I set them down. To the same woman. With the same 7 year old.
By now I’ve got people on all sides of me. I feel like a street hustler or some beret-wearing dickhead doing Febreze-sponsored performance art.
ARTIST’S STATEMENT: The black Old Navy t-shirt with the cat hair laid out next to the paint roller is supposed to represent the way extension cords are looked at in our society. The Norman Mailer book and half-used box of crayons are a coy statement about women, sexuality, and the lack of decent bars around Union Square.
I start throwing items to the furthest reaches of the blanket in an attempt to stop Scarface Lady from taking them.
It doesn’t seem fair that she gets this huge haul while other people stand around - needy, but too polite to interfere.
The one exception was the missus who complained several times that I wasn’t unloading items fast enough. HURRY UP AND GIVE ME MY FREE SHIT FASTER.
What kind of people come to these things, Erin? Jesus.
5% anarchist freegan
5% sad sack homeless
85% opportunists looking for free shit [i.e. see Scarface Lady above]
Nothing wrong with getting free shit. In fact, that’s the whole idea. But to see people taking a whole bunch of free shit without:
-pausing to read any one of the gazillion informational flyers
-chucking a nickel in the jar as a donation
or at the very least refraining from
-taking two or more of the same thing
-grabbing items out of people’s hands without saying “thank you” or “excuse me”
made me really fucking sad. This is why we have rules like “Please leave on undergarments while trying on swimwear,” and "10 Items or Less in the Express Lane."
Which everyone ignores.
BUT YOU FEEL ME.
I know it's not my place to judge. How people should react. Or not react. Who's needy. Who's not needy.
I guess I was just surprised at the lack of looking out for each other. I thought the whole thing would be governed by a sort of polite, restrained greed .
But nope. Just greed. Regular old unchecked greed.
I was cleaned out in a matter of seconds. The only thing that didn’t go was a pair of high heels.
They sat there for the next 10 minutes as people came by, picked them up, then dropped them like an smallpox-infected turd once I announced they were size 11.
A few people even laughed. Whoooooo eeeeeeee boy! That’s a big un’! Like it was a pumpkin growing contest or a circus sideshow and my used footwear was Big Bertha.
I don’t think they connected the shoes with the owner and how someone might find that a teensy bit embarrassing or insulting.
I’d had enough.
I left my gunboats on someone else’s blanket and went to meet my sister for a drink.