Though we have received moderate reception from the two related books I wrote a little while ago, my lack of a marketing budget and limited time devoted to getting all guerilla marketing up on it has allowed us to buy gas for half a week.
Nevertheless, time marches forward, and the need for things continues. By God’s grace, we are still here and provided for. My Hammy Froopers and I have not starved yet, nor has our Kiwi been devoid of consuming that strange powder that everyone has no idea what’s in it but says we have to feed him.
The Lord has placed the three of us (two consciously) in a strange place. For my career, I have a few options ahead of me including getting a Class A Driver’s License to become a driver, teaching abroad after getting a teaching credential, teaching locally with the CBEST, joining the Army after losing 42 lbs, or [some other thing that takes $100+ and/or a few months].
The problem is that in the Car of Life, we have 50 units of Life Gas and everything we could do (outside of me writing more relatively unpopular books) takes 100 or more units. This requires us to trust God and others for our Life Gas.
God has a rather interesting preference of showing us our true limits. Some of our inconveniences (like not being able to afford the country club anymore) are slightly less inconveniencing or stress-inducing than others (like not being able to afford the American Automobile Club) and some are just downright depressing (like being too poor for the Dollar Shave Club).
In light of this, I’d like to dispense some of the more frustrating experiences we’ve had of late in discovering the un-American experience of true scarcity:
Bank Accounts Decreasing
Eventually you get used to having no savings account, but the feeling of your only bank account dipping below zero again (and the overdraft fee that incurs each time from it) gets pretty painful. It makes every other resource ten times more valuable, since acquiring more of it becomes more tricky.
This isn’t as much of a problem with plenty of credit, but it creates a nice ugly ethical dilemma of “should I buy what I need and owe a bank later, or trust God?” This becomes significantly easier once your credit score plummets from missing only one payment after 6 years of steady honoring of indebtedness.
Most Americans would be quicker to declare bankruptcy or give over all their personal information and rights to the government than get here, but we can vouch for the reality that this can get much, much worse.
Petroleum Non-Jelly Diminishing
Obviously to get from Point A to Point B, you need something to get there. In our region, the only rational choice 99% of the time is to have a car.
With a car, it needs constant feeding of a highly processed form of crude oil called gasoline. Unlike diesel with its advantage of being a pressure-based ignition and allowing for crap like corn oil and fried chicken grease to power your engine, Toyota Camrys need a refinery to do it, and it would probably be easier to get ahold of with a small refinery, a conveniently located oil well and a good EPA attorney.
When your gas gauge hits that familiar yellow light yet again, it will remind you to either panic or trust God.
Non-Petroleum Car Needs
On top of feeding the car, it needs a steady stream of other various fluids to keep things slick, keep things visible, keep things running or keep things from not stopping.
The big red oil light is a scary portent of things to come, even more horrifying when it flickers on for half a second. Also, the orange Check Engine light is a surefire sign that God will be acting soon in some way.
Using paper towels is a major luxury, but there are other paper products that are often more needful. Though the pioneers used corn cobs and pine cones, the last time I tried that it blocked up the RV toilet for a few months.
When you see the end of the roll and have started using both sides, there is a sense of impending doom that only comes in America. Arabs find it highly offensive to shake hands with the left hand, and there’s a reason for that.
Personal Hygiene Supplies
Though some of the personal hygiene items like beard wax, nail polish remover and Q-Tips aren’t technically needed, other items like soap and razor blades are mighty convenient. Hair conditioner is especially important with bushy black hair that never gets cut.
When you run out of soap, you’ll start either praying or will look for that tallow you kept from that last project you made.
We obviously need food to eat, and without food for a long enough time we are often subject to death poisoning. However, this feeling of dread can be emulated using a simple pantry. Simply count the items in the pantry as they go down and you’ll have your own imaginary doomsday clock!
Ironically, this isn’t a very common need in the USA. There is so much food in this country that there’s guaranteed to be leftovers from everything, and it’s so plentiful that it’s more profitable for grocery stores to give away food closer to expiration for the tax break than risk it not selling in time for that arbitrary date to create a statutory nightmare of either concealment or waste.
Baby Needs More Needed
Babies need things more than adults. We haven’t gotten to the point where we don’t need the disposable poop sacks, and they’re relatively cheaper than the laundry soap we would be spending. Since my Hunky Goobers and I both like our ears and want our Cantaloupe to grow bigger, we must buy the magic growing powder every week. Also, the Dumpling needs butt-wiping when changing the poop sacks.
This one is easy if you keep one thing in mind: God gave you a child, so He’ll take care of that child more than you ever could.
Some Needs Grow from Avoiding Others!
Ironically, avoiding reliance on some things actually pushes the need into other realms. To avoid the costly baby wipes, we moved to not-really-disposable wipes, but then couldn’t afford that and moved to paper towels soaked in baby shampoo water, therefore creating a reliance upon baby shampoo and paper towels. We can move to laundry soap we make ourselves, but that requires borax and washing soda. Using what we have works, until we don’t have it anymore.
In short, no matter what, the scarcity of all things requires us to either bend to God’s will or bend to the crushing blows of losing our freaking minds.