We’re kinda funny…in an old geeky-cum-hippy kind of way.
I went into a store yesterday and bought four jars of O’Keefe’s heel cream (for split heels) and the old crone (older than me by at least ten years) asked me why I would buy four. “We live off the grid. If I’m going to buy one, I buy at least two and, if my wife isn’t around, I’ll buy four. In that way, my storage shed fills up.”
“Why do you want your storage shed to fill up?”
“Well, you know….when the world goes all to hell, I’ll have extra heel cream…or whatever…to last me.”
“How long do you think you have to last?”
“A year. Maybe two.”
“Then what happens?”
“I’m out of heel cream.”
She smiled and suggested I should maybe get a few more (since my wife wasn’t with me) just in case things weren’t put back together in the two years I had allowed. I thought about it but resisted. I didn’t want to look crazy.
Stroking her wrinkly, 80 year-old cheeks with both hands, she said, “Let me give you a tip, dear….you know, for your storage shed….get some coconut oil. It’s great for keeping your skin smooth.”
“Well, that is fine for you. Beauty is important to a woman. But I am already ugly and smooth skin isn’t going to help me, especially if the world has gone to hell.”
“But smooth heels will?”
In many of our interactions around the city, our living off the grid comes up in conversation. I admit that I am inclined to let it slip out rather easily but, to be fair, that fact-of-our-life seems to affect a lot of transactions. “Do you ship this stuff?” “Depends. How far away are you?” And so it starts….
“Oh, God! This is the best chutney I ever tasted! Can I get a jar of it?” “We make it ourselves for our restaurant but how much do you want?” “Will it keep for a year?” “Why do you want it to keep for a year?” And on it goes………
It’s fun. People are always interested in where we live. We get to answer the same questions over and over. Hard to beat that for entertainment, eh? But the real fun part is hearing about how they, themselves or their friend, parents, neighbours or co-workers, are always talking about getting off the grid. Their lack of knowledge usually prompts me to get a little crazy. “Do they know what off the grid really means?”
“Well, like not paying BC hydro or watching TV. Right?”
“So, you don’t watch TV!!?? You don’t pay Hydro?? So, what about the internet…?”
“No. None of that. We hunt, gather sea food, chop wood, kill bears and grow our own food. Biggest expense is bullets and bandages, ya know?”
“Oh, I don’t think I could do that. I like shopping too much. And I couldn’t live without my sit-coms. And my husband loves hockey. We could never do that.”
“Hard to beat cougar huntin’…chargin’ through the bush, dogs a-howlin’, blastin’ away in all directions…and all that blood….pretty fun… Most people have no idea how good BBQ cougar tastes.”
Eeeeeuuuw… I don’t think we could do that. My husband has bad knees. And all my girlfriends and I like to do yoga. I just don’t think we could do all that. We’ll stay in Kerrisdale, I think. It has everything we want.”
“Well, if you ever get the urge to kill some bears or something, let me know. We have a rustic back-woods cabin you could use. No plumbing, but we got a stink-hole. Got a skinnin’ shed with a smokehouse attached too. And I am thinking of making a sweat-lodge if that has any appeal.”
“Gee, thanks. Maybe some day…”