I had a fit of the clean-ups last week and decided to toss out all the old clothes that were not giving me any joy or beauty any more – like the Japanese lady who advocates simplifying life. It was less of a wrench than I thought – once I started to be critical about the stuff it was easy to send a lot of it away.
I was surprised at myself because I am not the snappiest dresser and a lot of the clothes still fit pretty well. But you do recognise that even if you change clothes twice a day you still have ten times the number of garments that you need and 1/10th of the space needed to store them.
So it was into boxes and out to the Goodwill bins at the local shopping centre. Once it was in the bin, it was out of sight and mind. Now, I missed a shelf of old jumpers, and caught up with it today – and sacrificed a couple that I can no longer pull over my head. I called past the bins…but found that all five of them were stuffed to the gills with bags of other people’s discards. Hardly any room at all.
Has there been a television show on decluttering recently? Is it a cultural tradition to ditch clothes at the start of summer? Are we a suburb full of fashion trendies?
Whatever – my next ambition is not to rush to the shopping centre and get more clothes – I want to see if I can wear out and abandon the ones that survived the first cull. Every undergarment discarded is another piece of laundry that need not be done. I doubt the Goodwill wants my old undies, but surely there is a roof somewhere in the suburb upon which they can be flung in the dark.
I live a retired life, which means I push my nose into all sorts of places. This is fun if you time it right – and the chief requirement there is to coordinate your movements with the road traffic.
Or, to put it more accurately, without. You choose to venture when others do not – you go places they are not. The shining goal os a day is an unobstructed road ahead and no arrogant BMW driver or tradie in a tray-top pushing up behind you. In some cases it is worth seeking out a road that doesn’t even go where you want to go to so that you can enjoy the peace.
It gets harder, as our metropolitan area expands and the suburbs in-fill themselves with multiple dwellings on older blocks. Just more people on the roads. I try to use the bus and train system when I can – the attraction being free travel in air conditioning with time to rest rather than drive. However, there are places poorly-served by public transport so the car has to be wheeled out.
I’ve learned to only venture after 10:00 AM and to bring myself back home before 4:00 PM. If the route is planned well you can get through the flak defences, accomplish your mission, and be back before they can catch you. Of course there are always road crews out playing Tetris with the traffic barriers as they lean on their shovels and you do well to learn about them from other road users on the net the night before. They really do affect where you travel for shopping – they steered me away from a certain sale at a shop last Saturday by the simple expedient of blocking the shop’s street from both ends. I hope the shopkeeper and his assistants do not stave and die behind the counter while the paviours play – it would make the shop premises stink awfully…
Shall I resort to the net and on-line shopping more? I hope not – I like the establishment of physical shops in our city as a way of giving employment and providing convenience for me – after I have run the gauntlet of the roads. On-line doesn’t benefit our state or nation in the end.
If you want to test your character as well as your stamina, get on the wrong bus. I did recently and found out a lot.
The basic problem was the Sunday schedule of the Transperth buses brigaded up two quite different routes at the same stop. And, as I was unfamiliar with the stop and did not look at the reporting sign on the front of the vehicle. I stepped blithely aboard the first one that presented itself.
I travel free on Sunday as a senior, so no money changed hands.
But when the bus turned off the main highway into the backstreets of a suburb, I guessed instantly what I had done. And then I examined myself to see what I thought about it and what I planned to do. I found that I was fine with the whole thing – I have all day to sit in the air conditioning on the bus and wherever it ended up, it would eventually return to where I got on. Or perhaps I could amend the problem half-way along. SI I settled for the ride.
Eventually it debouched me at our Technology university – at a bus port designed for what must be thousands of weekday commuters. It was deserted, but the bus driver was able to point me to a stand where I might catch another onward. With less than 10 minutes’ wait, a bench to sit on, and a magazine to read, it was no disaster. Eventually another bus I had never travelled on took me to a train station I recognised and I could resume what I started.
What did I see? I saw the densely packed housing around the university, the sprawling campus ( as always, under construction…) and the far reaches of 1930’s suburbia. When you can look out of a side window you can see far more than driving a car.
I have had a small adventure, and it suggests further ones spent on the public transport during weekends. With no anxiety about parking or traffic jams on the way, lots of destinations take on a new appeal – and if there is time to spare everything you see is rewarding.
Sell medicine to the sick and fun to the healthy. It used to be possible to become rich selling food to the hungry but now that the larger corporations have taken over production and distribution there is little point in opening a local deli.
Leaving aside the sale of better health to those who are poorly…and a complex thing that is, too…we come to the idea of selling fun. Making other people happy and fulfilled is the goal and a grim business it is, too.
This was illustrated at a trade show I’m attending this weekend. For the 4-wheel-drive vehicles and adventure accessories. It is by for the largest exhibition I have seen, both in area of display and amount of money that was asked. Also a very adventurous thing since it is being conducted on some of the most gruelling times of the year – 40º + yesterday. However, that did not deter the customers…because they wanted to buy things that will be fun to have and to go places that excite them.
I will not be wealthy because of it – I’ll submit a modest account for giving three lectures over three days – but then I won’t spend any money amongst the fabulous exhibitors either. It’ll a profitable and enjoyable thing to do and may give rise to more paid gigs in the future.
Moral of it all is that if you want to follow the money, follow the fun. That’s what people will fork out for.
Yesterday we emptied and washed out 36 rectangular plastic plant pots. Big buggers, that had served as a movable garden while we planned the permanent beds. I finished the morning soaking wet and dead chuffed with myself.
Then I took a picture of the array of pots and put it on the free website Gumtree. We didn’t want money for the pots – we just wanted them gone.
” Free Stuff ” is a powerful tool. It keeps a Democratic Party Congress and a shoe-polished Canadian Prime Minister going. It draws flies and their children from all points of the compass. It gets an instant …I mean in 38 seconds…response from a Gumtree advertisement.
I’m smart now: I don’t give out the home address until someone agrees to come to the sale. I only allow the address out to those who promise to rock up within an half hour.
In the case of the 36 tubs I got a keen palm tree propagator who was prepared to leap into her car and arrive in 15 minutes – and she was as good as her word. But her car was a VW Polo. About the size of a box of Kleenex – no bigger than my Suzuki Swift.
What followed was the 3-D version of Tetris. She pushed, shoved, upended, rotated, and squeezed. And we eventually filled up the entire interior volume of the Polo with plastic pots.
She was grateful. Which is silly. Because we gave her a car full of dirt and a week of work. But I cannot stand wasting resources and the pots went to a good home.
I have been a pariah on several occasions in my life and look back on them with a certain fondness. Of course that warm glow is tinged with a sense of shame as I brought it on myself each time – but any memory is a good one, when you consider that there are people who are losing theirs day by day.
First incident occurred when I visited our local water treatment plant with an excursion group from dental school. We were shown the fluoridation equipment and harangued about how it would make our jobs redundant. Some forty years later I thought about this when I sold the practice and retired. How prophetic…
Any rate, we had been told to bring our own lunches so I stopped at a supermarket on the way up and bought some bread rolls and fillings. Cheese, salami, and olives from memory. I was rounded on by the classmates and laughed to scorn for eating dago food. The professor who accompanied us on the tour was a Greek gentleman and he sampled the salami and the olives, but said nothing. It rather soured me on eating with my classmates ever after – even to the extent of avoiding their graduation dinner. In the event, I graduated 6 months after the rest so the dinner would have been a pain anyway.
The next time I was asked to dine with the erstwhile classmates was a couple of decades later – after I had established my own marriage, family, and surgery and had moved past the point of being a worried little wart. I’d joined the ranks of the muzzle loading rifle shooters, got into historical re-enacting, and collect a number of uniforms and costumes.
When we were dressing for the 20th year dinner of my university class I remarked to the wife that everything I had to wear was dull and old. She suggested that I wear the latest bright costume that I had – a New York Zouave outfit. Ever the fool, I agreed.
I have never been greeted with more disdain or a colder shoulder than at that restaurant meeting. Old classmates literally turned their backs on me. Their wives flocked to me and we had a great good time discussing the oriental-style costume. The dinner was eaten and I retreated, and from that day to this most of those old classmates – resident in this city – have never spoken to me. I hear news of their madnesses, decrepitude, or business failures through the grapevine, but aside from that have no contact.
And the result? I am free to live my own life as I please – no posing to please and no tiresome social gatherings based on forty years ago. I may have done myself – and other pariahs – some good.