Yesterday, on my first full day home, I enjoyed three encounters that, one by one, blew my mind, already opened even wider and deeper by the Boundary Waters experience. The first two encounters occurred because I now regularly choose to plunge beneath the matrix surface in supposedly “commercial” transactions. And the third encounter felt, well, like coming home, to a group that’s talking about the “circular economy”: Inspired by living systems, the circular economy concept is built around optimising an entire system of resource or material flows.
I noticed, during the circular economy discussion, that people there barely mentioned “money,” or if they did mention it, then with a grain of salt, as if we who know better are still having to dip our hands into this matrix money mess, while assigning it just about zero value.
On my Boundary Waters trip, I’d mentioned to at least ten people that “what I’m trying to do is live below money.” The remark puzzles people — but not these folks! I felt right at home.
Okay, here goes. What happened yesterday.
First, I had to go to the AT&T store, to get a new internet connection for this Overhill house (we’ve been tied to the internet in the DeKist house, and with six people using the internet, we’ve slowed WAY down at this house). The clerk, a nerdy-looking, neat, thin young white male, was well-mannered and responsive to my needs — until it came to the part where I had to ask a security question, and chose “my favorite singer.” Well, of course, I said out loud as I put it down in code, “Nina Simone.”
“Nina Simone!” he blurted out, surprised. “She’s my favorite singer, too.” BTW: this happens to be the second time I was in the AT&T store when a Nine Simone moment occurred — but with another clerk!
After a while, that other clerk strolled over to greet me by name. (Our encounter had been memorable.) I told him that this new clerk also loved Nina Simone. They were surprised to find each other in a new way.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s clerk and I started talking about politics. Don’t ask me how. But he did mention that he had a shelf worth of Chomsky publications! Aha! “But,” I mused out loud. “I wonder about Chomsky, since he won’t touch the subject of 9/11.” Without batting an eye, the clerk remarked, “Yes, Chomsky is used to define the limits of the left.” Wow! I had no idea young people, especially young clerks at AT&T, are thinking so clearly. He then went on to say that controlled opposition has always been used, but technology is just adding new dimensions to it. All this said without blinking or emotion. Just the facts, ma’am. Impressed.
Next, I decided to walk into Sears. Which I did on the spur of the moment, to ask a clerk there about how long clothes dryers usually last. Seven to ten years, I was told, by a 40ish, out-of-shape, disheveled, white male clerk with teeth that did not get the braces our culture says he needed when he was a kid. “And that’s because of ‘Energy-Star’ which mandates that appliances have to have the smallest motor to do the job.” Ergo, the motors work harder than they used to, and die earlier. I.e., unintended consequences.
“Oh,” I commented. “My dryer (now on the blink) is 14 years old.” (We’re drying clothes on the line, but d0 need a backup).
My eyes darted to a washer/dryer set advertised for sale, nearly $1000 each. What I expected. “Let me show you something else,” he said. And led me to a Maytag set for half that cost, and with a ten-year warranty! Wow! Done!
Meanwhile, he and I also started talking “politics,” this time spurred by a question from a young, overwhelmed-looking Chinese man and his mate who asked how to get their new washer and dryer installed. The clerk gently instructed them to a non-Sears installer, since they had not bought the set at Sears.
After they walked away, I said, “One of 3000 new Chinese students at IU.”
“Yep, I read the same article.”
Well, that started us off. About corporatism at the university, all the new buildings, rising tuition, student debt, you name it. I bet we talked for 20 minutes, completely forgetting what I was supposedly there to do.
I mention these two incidents because they caught me by surprise: I am used to walking around this lovely university town thinking forbidden thoughts, discussing such issues as those above with my son Colin Cudmore of the Garden Tower Project, and hardly anyone else.
Hmmm. What did those three weeks away do to me? I seem to have entered a new level of transparency in my daily life, plunging right to the heart of the matter as I go about my errands. And what I’m finding blows my mind. At least it did yesterday. Are people waking up? Or am I waking up to how awake so many of us actually are. And if so, let’s do what I did yesterday, just plunge in on our daily rounds, talking about what really concerns us. Let’s get all the hidden fears and views out in the open. Let’s air them out, fill them with energy, and then use our collective understanding to transform the status quo.
Okay, that takes me to last evening, and my decision to go to an expensive ($40) event put on by Indiana hemp enthusiasts — with a meal featuring hemp recipes from FarmBloomington restaurant. I didn’t know why I was impulsed to go; and I certainly didn’t know why I then invited young housemate Brie, a budding free-lance journalist (among other things), to go in my place (this was at 5:35 p.m., only minutes before she or I would have to leave for the 6 p.m. gathering). She had just gotten up from a nap after her grueling day working as a clerk for a corporate chain at $8/hour. Instantly, she agreed to go, and convinced me to go, too. Okay. I will shell out $80 for this event!
We both hurriedly washed our faces and got in the car. Ten minutes later, we walked into a small room inside the restaurant with a powerpoint presentation set up and and about a dozen other people, all of them hemp activists of one sort or another.
Including Eric Carlson, the Colorado Director of Hemp Affaires for the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce:
Including “just an old country boy farmer from Kentucky,” sly as a fox, and just as determined, passionate Chad Wilson, sporting a Green Remedy
“How did you crush the discs?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe it happened after all those times as a kid plunging off a cliff with a hose tied around my waist.” Ye gods!
And including Brandon Pitcher, CSO and Founder of Hemp Circle Industries,
an inventive genius who, I know, I just know, is supposed to meet my son Colin. They are brothers. And it’s my task invite them both to lunch. Aha! That is why I was impulsed to shell out $80 for this hemp meeting.
And Brie, who was “overwhelmed” by learning about the myriad possibilites of hemp, will no doubt, do some kind of free lance story. Who knows, that might be the story to launch her career. In the car on the way home, we tossed about the idea of calling hemp “the holy grail” of our time.
Whew! All that on the very first day home! And all of it, as usual, working below the place where we’re “moving stuff around” to the human and other relationships that bind us to each other and all living things, including this living, breathing planet inside its loving cosmos!
Oh wait! Speaking about “stuff,” one of my Boundary Waters canoe-mates, Barbara, told me about a George Carlin riff about stuff. Maybe that’s where I picked up on the idea?