Running on Empty

Gas and grapes.  Sugar and salad fixins.  Cascade, calcium, contact lens cleaner. Seems there's a lot of alliteration in deprivation.  Yes, that is a list of the things I’m out of, or nearly so, as this Transaction Cleanse enters the final days of its final phase.

Ordinarily, even a lack of grapes would have me running to the grocery store. Nor am I particularly comfortable seeing a red “low fuel” light on the dashboard. Guess I’ll be riding my bike or bumming a ride tomorrow! Will I end up concocting some baking soda-based homemade dishwasher detergent or (gasp) washing the dishes by hand? Will I have to wear my glasses out of the house? Will the hummingbirds fly the coop for a neighbor’s feeder more reliably filled with sugar water?  Will missing 2 days of calcium supplements result in osteoporosis??

These are the kinds of panicky thoughts an overbuyer/planner has as the cupboard moves closer to bare.  This, despite the fact that there’s plenty of other fruit and many non-salad dinner options, the dishwasher’s not even close to full, and I have no plans to drive anywhere. For Pete's sake, given the level of preparedness, you’d think I used to be a Boy Scout!

Rationally, I know we still have way more than we need.  Ostensibly, I want to use things up and keep a smaller surplus.  And yet, this delayed spending (read: gratification) is a whole new way of life that takes some getting used to.

It's also a great way to learn what “stuff” is really important to you, a chance to revisit the concept of need vs. want. Looking back, it strikes me that I – and probably many of us in this culture –  started out adult life with a set of needs and wants.  Then over time, I shifted items one-by-one from the latter column to the former, as I discovered them to be useful, convenient, or enjoyable.  Nothing wrong with that per se. But the list has a way of getting bloated over time, and a Transaction Cleanse can be just the pause that refreshes. Speaking of refreshment…

It’s 4:30 on Friday, warm and sunny on the patio, the weekend beckons, as does the bottle of St. Germain liquor (no known relation, but I‘m still looking) in the not-quite-bare-yet cabinet. I think I’ll pour myself a glass as I ponder where it falls on the need vs. want spectrum.