The thing with the Bank of the Universe (or as many call it, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”) is that it doesn’t have overdraft. No need for overdraft protection. There aren’t even any fees attached. Just the realization that there is enough. BOOMM! Now, that’s a pretty bold statement, i know. But lets just take a look at a few situations in my life.
1. I had acquired, through sad circumstance, a houseful of furniture, clothes, and various nick knacks. Much emotion was attached to it, and i had a hard time letting some of it go, but there was ONE thing that i had no problem giving away. (i ended up giving it all away, i believe, except some candles and a spatula….great spatula.) The thing i could just let go of, no problem, and even laughed about, was an enormous fur coat. It was a size 1, and lets be clear. i’m ….not. It was big, furry, and there is no way to hide the fact that, although luxuriously soft, IT’S A FUR COAT. I just happened to let it be known that i had an extra fur coat (really, i did use the term “extra fur coat”) at a Sunday 3 hr long activity, and it just so happened that the person that talked about it with me was a size 1, couldn’t seem to find a fur coat her size, and had always wanted a coat JUST LIKE IT. Really. There were tears and hugs. odd, that. Could be coincidence, but lets look further…
2. I was in a room once where we were asked to put on a piece of paper some things that we really needed, but were all out of ideas as to how to acquire. Then also, list all the things we had just lying around. things that were just “extra”. no matter how small, how large, how expensive or cheap. alive or dead. didn’t matter. just the extra. So after i thought for a minute, i put down the 2 tennis rackets, and the jewelry box in the closet. 7 sets of sheets that we were given for our wedding ( never opened), and the various fat/thin/short/tall clothes that are never quite worn. the shoes that look great but don’t match anything. the lazy boy recliner in the garage. the non-running car that just needs some work, out at hubby’s dad’s place, and the 2 lawn mowers that, again, just need some work. you know, the normal.
Again, the phenomenon: After going through the room and seeing the lists of needs and wants, all things extra, from pretty much everyone in the room, were called for, and all things needed were accounted for. down to someone’s need for a college tuition, 3 cars, 5 cats, a parrot (alive, not dead), and 12 jobs. And my lazy-boy recliner. there were, of course, extra things that weren’t needed, but it was amazing the amount of ABUNDANCE is in the world of us.
3. National Annual put-your-crap-out-on-the-curb-and-the-city-will-make-it–disappear day. Now, about 4 days or a week before this predetermined day, miraculous things happen. Stuff just appears out of nowhere. There isn’t a time when i see anyone bring anything to the curb. it just appears. In fact, it looks something like this:
The light comes on and i say, “ohhh! it’s THAT time of year!” This is my cue to rifle through my back yard/garage/closets for the stuff that didn’t sell at the garage sale, didn’t sell on the “craigs list”, or ended up in the rain for a week and a half before putting it under a tarp in the far corner of the yard.
This year i was ecstatic to bring out 28 boxes we stashed in the garage, the trampoline frame with 11 missing springs (making the whole thing unworthy of the spot in the backyard), an old furnace, as well as getting rid of 3 computer screens, 2 large desks, and a partridge in a pear tree. Nothing out of the normal for the family spring cleaning, but here’s the phenomenon. We had 4 days to go and in that time, my kids and i counted 23 trucks meandering by (none of them marked “City”, and most of them with at least 2 kids and an in-law in the back. Oh yeah, and an impossibly high load of scrap metal already perched precariously around bike frames/major appliances, and toys), rifling through and gathering the things i had so carelessly thrown away. Anything made of metal or with cords on it made someone very happy. They knew just what to take, and what to leave. It was something they had planned for, counted on, and had a system of.
RINGLEADER AND DRIVER OF 1987 FORD TRUCK, WHITE, WITH A TRAILER TOTED BEHIND IT: “Mother, you take the miscellaneous cords and any bike rims or frames. Sissy, hold baby Joe’s hand while you dig through the rubble. We don’t want to leave him behind like last time. Uncle Ed, wrap that bungee cord tight! it’s got to hold up for 7 more trips. I’ll take the scrap metal, major appliances and bed frames.”. No kidding, within 5 minutes, anything deemed of worth was gently picked up, acquired, and the rest was placed nicely back. Not one out of 23 left my “junk pile” messy.
What does this say to me? I have underutilized my junk, 1st off. Maybe it’s made someone else’s life a bit easier. don’t know. I’ll never know who they are. they smiled and thanked me, but that was it. I had extra, they needed what i had, and boom. a transaction was complete. no fees needed.
That was the outflow.
Now, during this same time of year, but a few years back, my boys (10,8, and 4 at the time) knew of something that i wanted. BADLY. A lovesac. Not a beanbag. A LOVESAC. They are enormous pieces of furniture, indestructible, and great for indoor flips/jumps/throwing pets/sisters/assorted missionaries coming for dinner, into. And quite spendy, at the time. Out of my price range if i wanted to have food, home, and other extras.
So when the time came for all the treasures to come out of peoples homes, and very VERY unbeknownst to me, my 3 proud boys come up the street ROLLING AN ENORMOUS LOVESAC…. looking beanbag down the street. Bless their hearts. Neighbors were coming out of their doorways, dogs were barking, and some guy in a bathrobe was clapping like it’s a parade.
OHHH my boys were proud that they found what my hearts desire was. How did i dare tell them that the flotsom and jetsom from the street was all over it, or they had left a trail of little beanie things streaming from the zipper that didn’t work, for the last 3 blocks, or even that it smelled like pickles,gasoline, and wet muskrat? I didn’t. i was excited, and when they went to school, it got picked up with the rest of the stuff at the curb. don’t ask, don’t tell. (They wondered where it was for a minute or 2, but then got interested in grasshoppers, so i dodged a bullet.) At Christmas time, however, we did receive an actual LOVESAC, so all was well.
We now have a rule that once something is on the curb, ANYONE’S curb, it stays there. no bringing things home. We can let someone else enjoy the muskrat scents. ew.
So it brings me back to The Bank Of The Universe. It’s waiting, on line 1. Would you like to take that call, or screen? I am learning i do a bit of both. I do not need a parrot, any more flotsom, or another bedframe. I will, however, be on the lookout for a trip to the beach, a job that doesn’t involve flooded basements and OSHA visits, and also a girls night out. So if you are the Bank of the Universe calling, please leave your number at the beep: BEEP!