Sunday, December 16, 2007

no spend days

I’ve been keeping track of days in which I buy nothing, I usually average 3 or 4 per week. I’m thinking this is pointless activity: it would be easier for me to just do all my shopping on one day if I had a way to bring it all home in one go. It’s not how often one spends that’s important, it’s what one spends it on. Maybe that’s not true, maybe it’s the consumerism itself, the daily visit to the shop. Yet the daily visit to the ship is a ritualized social experience, one exchanges pleasantries, one may meet a friend, one participates in one’s community. This is the bigger problem – consumerism is a means to an end, it’s the desire to participate in activity with others that drives people to the stores. How many times have you got home with your purchase and realized you don’t want or need it? It was the act of being in the throng that had the juices flowing.

I was keeping track I think as a way to check my interaction with money. I would like to limit this. Not because I’m against money or think it’s evil, but because I find it becomes consuming. I find myself in a position where I can trade and for me this is liberating and fun. Tutoring for laundry and fresh bread, tutoring for local plant identification and uses, yams for plants, cacao for coconut. I’m still consuming, I’m still getting something. The only difference is that I’m giving something different in exchange, not a promissory note, but something somehow more tangible.