June 16, 2009

Putting The "Free" in Freedom

Yesterday I was rummaging around various drawers and boxes in my tiny home. I was surprised at all the resources 586 sq.ft. could contain, and I am not talking about a double garage here. I am referring to my entire living space. Although I am no midnight pack rat stocking my home full of back alley and curb-side treasures, I do collect resources that may come in handy in the future. My place is not stuffed to the point of narrow junk corridors leading from room to room, but I do have some drawers that are threatening to explode. It's just that when you buy dill pickles you also get a perfectly good reusable glass jar with them. Something must be done with the jar. We are constantly surrounded by free valuable resources, especially if you are able to appreciate small gifts.

They say there is no such thing as a free lunch, but it sure would be easy in our over the top throw away society to furnish an entire apartment for free. Buck 65, Canadian rapper, did just that. He furnished his entire apartment with free resources, and can be seen in an episode of MTV's "Cribs". I hate to admit I have watched "Cribs", but the Buck 65 episode is by far the best I have seen. He makes the rest seem, well, quite wasteful with all their money.

Just take a look at the "free" section (found under "for sale") of Craigslist in your community or a community near you. As long as you had a truck to haul free loot, and a roof to stash it under, a person could drive into a community such as Vancouver or Victoria with nothing but the skin on your bones and after a few days have everything you needed. You would be benefiting the community at large because if you don't take that couch it is going to end up being shot full of holes up some logging road by a camouflage mini-skirted AK-47 toting back county Rambette (sad, but true. Her boyfriend posted a video of it on youtube). That perfectly good couch will look much better in your living room.

In my drawer and box rummage-fest I found I that I am "richer than I think" (can I use that or has it been trade marked? I will only use this phrase if it is free). Yes, I found luxurious socks that I have never worn before. I found a free pack of playing cards, still hermetically sealed in cellophane, that I acquired from a case of Pilsner beer back when I used to buy beer. I have books on the shelf I have never read, and clothes I have not worn since the last time the NDP formed the government of BC.

I realized that my modest patio garden all came to me gratis. The many containers were saved from the recycling area of our building. I got the soil from a slump down the beach that would have been eroded away by the next high tide. Actually, I saved some nice flowers from the slump as well, and took those home to relocate into my free containers.

The strawberry plant was given to me by a elderly guerrilla gardener that was busted by her condo strata board. I was hired to tear out her extensive (and illegal, apparently) hard work. We quickly became friends as she, too, recognized the riches that abound where ever we look. She pleaded with me to take all her plants rather than toss them on the compost heap. I filled the back of my truck with her entire guerrilla garden and used what I could at home. The rest I took to a friends acreage where he used up everything else. Right now the strawberry flowers and reddening berries on my patio are reminding me of Elizabeth and Her Fantastic Illegal Garden. And my friend, Michael, enjoyed Elizabeth's wonderful perennials in his front yard. Free.

How can I feel rich when I exist on less than most people pay on their mortgages? Lowering ones expectations helps. Separating wants from needs is beneficial. But the most fun for me is recognizing the power of free. Not wanting makes me free. Anyone want (need?) a deck of brand new playing cards? I am willing to share my wealth... free.

1 comment:

  1. Most of our furniture has been repurposed or purchased from thrift stores. Some of it (like our sofa table and coffee table) were found beside a dumpster years ago at our old apartment complex. All they needed was a bracket here, a good sanding and paint job and wah-la! perfect and good as new. I love the feel of using older things in our house instead of new. They have history. :D


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