Thursday, July 15, 2010

Body Clutter And Such

I watched No Impact Man and it stuck with me for days on end.

The wife (Michelle Conlin), who loves clothes, was reluctant on many occasions to give up creature comforts and as she's talking to the camera, she says something like the title is No Impact Man -- not woman.

There are times in the documentary that you can see the strain on Conlin's face and I definitely felt her discomfort when her husband, Colin Beavan, mentions the possibility of giving up toilet paper in addition to all of the other things that she's had to give up, including makeup. The family's experiment garnered a lot of attention but Beavan was disappointed in the New York Times' article that went with this title: The Year Without Toilet Paper.

Beavan is like:
What if we called it the year I lost 20 pounds without going to the gym once or the year that we didn't watch tv and became much better parents as a result or if we called it the year we ate locally or seasonally and it ended up reversing my wife's prediabetic condition. There are actual benefits to living environmentally.
The couple has a ton of, no pun intended, light bulb moments. Conlin notes:

We have no tv, no lights, no electricity, no air conditioning. These were the things that kept us inside. We are kind of forced out of the apartment all the time now. The days feel like they just last forever. (106:00)
It's very cute when the couple's daughter, Isabella, is having the time of her life in a garden watching lightning bugs.

Conlin was a non-cooker until the no impact experiment:

I ate all of my food at restaurants or in takeout containers. I never cooked it. I never prepared it. I never thought about it. I never composted it. I never thought about the waste. Now that I go to the farmer's market, I know all of the people who grow our food. (111:40)

After Conlin's cooking lesson, she makes a meal on her own:

It might not work out but you have to learn and grow.

The couple becomes huge fans of bicycling and adds a tricycle to their arsenal as well. Before their experiment, Conlin would not have dreamed of putting her daughter on a bicycle and was frequently annoyed by bicycle messengers. It's cool when they ride to Fort Tilden in New York and proclaim that it's better than The Hamptons.

It's even cooler when Conlin realizes the effects of consumption:

The rapacious consumption for consumption's sake and the coma that induces... I'm just rethinking everything in terms of what's important. (118:00)
Conlin's consumption observation hits home on several levels, including my ongoing uncluttering project of possessions and my ongoing project of body uncluttering.

Do you think that you could live for a year without a tv in your house, or not go to a restaurant or only buy food that traveled no more than 250 miles to get to your area?

Watched any good documentaries lately?


  1. I don´t know if it´s a post-surgery perpesctive but I´ve felt more of a desire to simplify my life. It´s strange because I didn't before. New direction? Perhaps...

  2. I don't watch much tv, and don't eat out - but certainly not like they did. That sounds fascinating. I'm going to check it out today.

  3. @sarabeck,

    It probably is post-surgery perspective. I'm just in the beginning stages of uncluttering and I feel like I have sizable monkey off my back -- not to compare my uncluttering with your surgery...

    And I do feel like there is clarity in simplicity or clarity when there's less noise around -- whatever that noise might be.


    I should probably watch less tv too; while you're tuning in, there is definitely an element of tuning out...

  4. Hi Drea! I just found your blog, and as orphan Annie said, "i think i'm gonna like it here" :)
    i apologize in advance if i end up leaving a trail of comments in my wake! :D

  5. Hi Heather,

    Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the vote of confidence. No apologies necessary. ;)

  6. I am going to have to rent this. I love this idea, but am sooooo tied to comforts. I do love the idea of getting out of the house. We (as in people who live like I do) have become hermits. We have huge entertainment systems at home. We spend time on the internet. I go the whole day without actually using my voice - instead I use my fingers.

    Wait, that sounds dirty.

    Anyway, what I mean is, we need to get out and know people around us again. I am especially bad at that. I just want some anonymity sometimes. I don't always want to interact face to face.

  7. Angela,

    LOL, I know what you mean and, yeah, I could definitely be a recluse at times.

    My computer is being worked on right now and I have interesting online rituals. So, now, I'm being forced to change my habits and the first few days were not pretty.

  8. i picked up this book at the library yesterday :)

  9. Heather,

    I'm going to put the book on my list of books to read because I'm sure there was a lot of footage left out of the documentary.

    I would love to hear what you think about the book...