I have some friends, well more like acquaintances since we don’t actually “hang out” (and I’d probably end up smacking a few of them if we did), who have gone all out about Earth Day and being green. Please don’t lecture me. I made it all these long years just fine without a bunch of idealist minded twenty-somethings explaining life to me.
I was raised by my grandparents, two people who were seriously scarred by the Great Depression. They recycled EVERYTHING. Nothing was ever thrown away until every last drop of its usefulness was exhausted. We lived in a modest house built by my grandparents. We grew our own fruit and vegetables. We had bees for honey. Our food scraps went to the compost heap. We tore down old houses and barns to recycle the wood. Some of my best loved treasures came from the dump. We’d haul off our garbage and end up dragging someone else’s home. Being wasteful was a serious sin.
When I was 12 I got my first glimpse into our family’s finances. My grandparents were pretty much rolling in it. Filthy Stinking Rich. Their lifestyle was choice not necessity. Our life wasn’t all frugality. We never wanted for a thing. Christmas morning at our house was a jaw dropping experience. I got a full sized rail dune buggy for my 11th birthday. And I was certainly the only 16 year old riding around town on a new Harley Davidson.
My grandparent’s frugal ways became permanently etched into my being. I look at everything and ask myself how I could use it before passing it over or tossing it out. Even at work, my boss will ask me if I want an item before he takes it to the dumpster. My dress form (homemade at that) rolls around thanks to a recycled store display. A few of my mates, Beloved included, were initially horrified by my penchant for dumpster diving. Once they learn that I can make something really cool with whatever I drag home they come around. And it was FREE! That’s the best part! I save and repurpose everything.
Since my boss creeped into this rambling tale, I have to mention something amusing. Everyone is always asking me why my boss is so unfriendly and hardly ever talks. He’s just standoffish if he doesn’t know you very well. But if he likes you, he likes you. He tripped me out a bit this last week with my friend Teresa. He bullshits with her, laughs with us. When some of my other friends come in, he asks me questions about what’s going on with them after they leave. He doesn’t speak to them directly. For some reason, Teresa is different. He talks to her. She loves our ice cream and was let down when the machine locked up on me one afternoon. As soon as he got the machine fixed, he asked me to call her and let her know it was back on. Crazy.
Sam, my former co-worker got back from Algeria last Friday and came to hang out with us yesterday. He brought me back a darling hanging incense burner. Last time he went, he brought me back an awesome Moroccan lamp. My boss looked at the incense burner and said I needed the charcoal tablets to burn the incense on. I said I had plenty. He got all happy and asked where I got them. The voodoo shop. He laughed and said “The voodoo shop! You would say that.” Yup. Got the incense there too.