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21st Street Co-op Ramble

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Mar. 16th, 2003 | 09:24 pm
mood: okayokay
music: mild tinnitus

I lived at 21st Street co-op from '92 to '99 or so -- around 7 years. I was the least-controversial yet radical Libertarian non-political Food Buyer ever, for two of those years, and the 'PC Guru' for many more. Hmm, I still need to give them the key that unlocks the security cables to those PCs.... :) :)

I was also the Subcommittee Rep to the Board of Directors for much of that time. I served on the Membership, Education, and Marketing subcommittee, where I represented my co-op's interests thoroughly by preventing that subcommittee from doing much. (They always wanted to make rules. *Our* co-op (of the five total) didn't like outside rules, yet we were Draconian Darwinists with our simple house labor policies. The only way to win at the board level was not to play.) :) Themes here: as few rules as possible, repeated and publicized, harshly enforced. I myself cast a motion in a house meeting that would result in my possible eviction. I guess I was playing Socrates there, but I was let off the hook, partly because of that double-dare. :)

House meetings would perennially argue over policy, some of which we managed to write down. As the years went by I took great glee in calmly prepending my opinion on the issue with, "Well... when I wrote the policy, what I intended was...." I quote a fellow resident: "He's a one-man bureaucracy!"

I was eventually nudged gently out of the food buyer position by several concerned friends who saw that I was working myself to death, or at least to the walking zombie of sleep deprivation. I met two of my eventual girlfriends during that time due largely to the punchy goofiness of sleep-dep. :) My successor convinced me that she would carry on my policies -- and so she did, with her own touches.

Geez, sounds like it's time to put me out on the front porch of a little house in Hyde Park, in a rocking chair, telling stories.... ;)

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Triple Entendre

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Comments {7}

ThomasRhymer

(no subject)

from: thomasrhymer
date: Mar. 17th, 2003 07:43 pm (UTC)
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I lived at the 21st St Co-Op from 1988-1990. My introduction to co-ops happened in the 2 years prior to that, at the infamous Ark, now known as Pearl St Co-Op, I believe. I got introduced to all of my favorite substances at the Ark.....;)

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Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Mar. 17th, 2003 09:53 pm (UTC)
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Hey, cool. You know, it got shut down a *second* time, now as Pearl Street Co-op, but kept the name.

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ThomasRhymer

(no subject)

from: thomasrhymer
date: Mar. 17th, 2003 09:57 pm (UTC)
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What was the reason the 2nd time?

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Triple Entendre

going once, going twice....

from: triple_entendre
date: Mar. 18th, 2003 07:32 am (UTC)
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Ultimately, I think it's the architecture (of shared spaces and how it affects people).

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ThomasRhymer

Re: going once, going twice....

from: thomasrhymer
date: Mar. 18th, 2003 07:36 am (UTC)
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Perhaps you could share specifics at the skating rink tonight?

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Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Mar. 23rd, 2003 04:31 am (UTC)
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It's made almost entirely of cinderblocks. Like many co-ops it was once a dormitory. Being a co-op, its edges were rounded off a bit, there were couches and books and such, but IMHO it isn't homey enough the way co-ops made from old houses (or 21st street co-op) are. People don't feel comfortable in the space, so they disrespect it and things go wrong.

I don't have any specifics. :)

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Triple Entendre

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Chef Monkey

Well... when I wrote the policy...

from: chefmonkey
date: Apr. 2nd, 2003 02:13 pm (UTC)
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I find a great deal of sympathetic glee in this description.

There have been many times when I'll find myself in an argument with people unaware of the fact that I am one of the authors of the specification under discussion. There is an astonishing change in attitude when I finally start a one of my points with, "when I wrote that, what was intended was..."

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