Guardarrr #27: The spares and the just-in-case

Esta es la versión inglesa de mi boletín, puedes encontrar el mismo texto en castellano aquí.

I am to have less. My life is easier if I have one handkerchief in use, one lip balm, one cleaning cloth for my glasses, one pen, one hand cream … and one pair of glasses.

I know there are people out there (hi, mom!) for whom it is easier to have numerous duplicates in all strategic locations – on the nightstand, on the desk, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the handbag, in the car – so as not to have to carry that unique object from one place to another constantly. I understand the argument but having 3 lip balms, 5 open hand creams and 4 pairs of glasses overwhelms me. Having only one thing when possible is the easiest thing for me.

Having more (hello, Christmas!) gives me a tremendous desire to use them up or re-gift as soon as possible just to return to that magical equilibrium of one.

It is not a spares problem. When I know that I will use it in the future, after finishing the current one, it fills me with pride and joy to be a respectable adult who is not going to run out of dish soap, toothpaste or toilet paper. But, please, don’t make me decide on how to rotate things of very similar utility (and do not give me scarves, I already have a problem deciding which to wear).

And so I lived until life decided to broaden my horizons and teach me something new.

I was in front of my computer one morning, prepared for a nice day of working from home, when, while cleaning my glasses, the frame was suddenly broken and I had a loose lens in my hand. Ah!

I have been wearing glasses since I was 3 years old, I have a glorious combination of far-sightedness and astigmatism which makes an analog life without glasses at medium distances and sizes possible while small (reading, writing, drawing, sewing) and digital, no matter what the screen size, is difficult.

At 7 and at 30.

Well, I proceeded to postpone all the work and went to an optician where they increased my prescription and I ordered a new pair of glasses. I also realized that, even after all these years of sustainability concerns, I do not apply them to glasses. I keep choosing them as if they were my first, just by the color and shape, without asking what of, where and by whom they are made. I ordered all the protective layers, dropped all my money, and was told that I would get them within a week.

It was only when I got back home and sat in front of my computer that I realized the key question that I had not asked: how do I live a week without glasses?

I hadn’t had my glasses break since kindergarten. In adulthood I had bought the next ones with the previous glasses still in use. I was not prepared for this.

I tossed some Sugru onto the old glasses and left it to set, although without much hope that it would work out properly. Like so:

I spent that first afternoon working with my prescriptions sunglasses on. They are fine outdoors, but this experience left me with no desire to continue wearing them indoors for a week. Polarized lenses are not optimal for digital screens, obviously.

I managed to do everything with the sugru-ed old glasses the next day. They collapsed just as the day’s work was done at 18:30. That was the moment to go back to the optician and ask for miracles … and they had them alright!

My fantasies were on the side of contact lenses (which I have never tried), imagining a magical basement of all prescriptions where you only need to go down and choose the correct ones to save people like me from suffering. No. It is not like that. Contact lenses with my prescription take the same time as glasses, but I discovered that opticians have a reuse trick that I had no idea about even after my 30+ years of prescription eyewear.

If the lenses are fine, they look for a frame that is very similar in shape but a bit smaller and basically just file the lenses a bit to fit in this new frame! This take only a few minutes, it is done in the store and you only pay for the new frame.

Well, I left the optician’s with my new-old glasses and beaming with happiness about this newfound solution, and at that moment it mattered very little to me that in a few days I would have to go back for my second pair:

As for the inconvenience of having two pairs of glasses, first, it is clear that the new-new glasses are my primary pair since the prescription is higher and I see better, and the lenses are new, hence I have no aspirations to wear the two equally, and secondly, the conflict of having a second pair was fixed by the optician very seriously admonishing me that, with my prescription, one cannot have only one pair of glasses.

She did a valuable reframing for me, switching this new multiple tenancy from an absurd whim with the obligation to amortize and wear the two items out equally to a sensible spare to have. A just-in-case that makes all the sense in the world.

In this process, I unexpectedly learned three more glass-facts that the previous 30 years had not made so clear to me:

(a) I depend a lot on my glasses, it is a great privilege to have them, and a good financial aspiration is to always have enough savings in case I have to buy a new pair (the other basic aspiration for people who live far from our families in my cinematic universe is to always have enough savings to buy a ticket home),

(b) the easiest way to find glasses similar to the previous ones is to take out the lens and ask for a similar shape, it is easier than choosing by the frames,

(c) when a pair of glasses breaks – as with all other stuff breaking – the first question to someone who knows about this should be whether it can be fixed… because sometimes it can.

Taller de visión del armario perfecto con collage | 19 de enero en Centre Cívic Trinitat Vella – Espai Foradada, Foradada 36, Barcelona.

Intercambio de ropa | 22 de enero en Centre Cívic Trinitat Vella – Espai Foradada, Foradada 36, Barcelona.

La COP-26 y la lección de un dinosaurio + Cambio climático: el ‘lobby’ de los combustibles fósiles muestra su poder en Glasgow + una explicación de la inacción, la de siempre: “[Según un conjunto de previsiones] las acciones canadienses, británicas y europeas obtendrán mayores beneficios en comparación con el escenario sin cambio climático. El cambio climático es una mala noticia para los inversores en renta variable de los mercados emergentes, y el mayor golpe lo recibirán India, Brasil, México y Sudáfrica.”

¿Cuántos envases teníamos que recuperar? “Si analizamos los flujos de residuos resulta que en la basura de los españoles hay hasta 4 veces más residuos de envases de los que Ecoembes estaría entregando a sus recuperadores homologados” + [Podcast] 5. Tráfico de residuos plásticos con Patricia Villarrubia.

Ya puedes hacer la compra con tu propio táper o bolsas reutilizables… bueno, poder se ha podido siempre, pero ojalá vuelva más normal “reconoce[r] al comprador el derecho a poder hacer sus compras sin verse obligado a transportar a casa envases de un solo uso, que se convierten en residuo casi al instante”.


Welcome to AirSpace: “The homogeneity of these spaces means that traveling between them is frictionless […] It creates you going to the same place all over again […] You might not even realize you’re not where you started” + The Tyranny of Terrazzo: Will the millennial aesthetic ever end? “If you simultaneously can’t afford any frills and can’t afford any failure, you end up with millennial design.” + Why Millennial Pink Refuses to Go Away + Koolhaas, Rem. 1995. The Generic City.

An instant classic always worth revisiting, especially taking into account the alarmism-is-bad-for-you-and-your-message context: The Uninhabitable Earth.

I yearn for a world of more diverse textile news, so here you have these two rich texture beauties from 2020: Nicky Hilton is fighting climate change by wearing vintage Chanel and Yarn made from human skin could soon be stitching up your wounds.

About our perceptions of sustainable eating, romanticization of the past, and overall just too good to miss: The Fallacy of Eating The Way Your Great-Grandmother Ate.

And that’s it for this week! I hope that you enjoyed reading and would be very happy to hear from you, regarding spares or anything else… in the comments below, via Facebook or Instagram, or via e-mail at luize.ratniece [a] gmail .com

Guardarrr is a weekly bilingual newsletter dedicated to sustainability and mindfulness in fashion. It is written by Luīze Ratniece, a sociologist and textile activist based in Barcelona. Guardarrr is both a tool for reflection and a crowdfunding channel for the wardrobe tracking app that Luīze is building. If you read this newsletter and value it, please consider going to the paid version to fund this project for a monthly equivalent of a coffee + pastry. Each subscription warms my heart immensely and helps going on, thank you so much for being here with me!

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