You Don’t Need a Credit Card to Barter

The day began with a soft rain in the hours before dawn. I usually get up before everyone else, make a pot of coffee and catch up on the world outside through the Internet. I have been using my daughter’s laptop lately because our desktop shit the bed about six weeks ago. Unfortunately I ah a contract/insurance policy through an outside IT company and I tried, unsuccessfully, for the past six weeks to get the thing back up and running. After forty or so phone calls to the good people of India and thirty hours of my time, I still don’t have a functioning computer and I’m out the $400 for the policy. In fact, I was on the phone with them at 10 am when a neighbor drove up in his pickup.

The rain eased up and the two of us took a walk with the animals following at a safe distance, chewing their cud methodically. My neighbor had just finished baling hay on a couple of his fields and having heard from another farmer that we were building our herd he was interested in selling me 600 bales.

We don’t do a lot of paying for things so we got around to talking about what he needed for trade.

He’s a lot younger than I am, early thirties I’d guess, but he was hip to what’s going down with the economy and by the time the walk had come to an end we had made a trade so that he now had a feeder calf and I had some extra hay. He feeds his family, I feed mine. Neither of us lost out, both of us gained something and we both came to an understanding. Turns out this guy was one of the firemen who helped when my barn burned down even though we had never met face to face

As we shook hands at the back of his truck I could tell that I now had one more ally I could depend on and I think he felt the same. Two interactions, one for money on the scale of global economics, across continents and costing me countless hours with no resolution. The other local, with someone who spoke my language for something that benefited both parties, and at no cost out of pocket.

No one has to live this way, the constant consumption, the eating out, the credit cards, the foreign intermediaries and everyone at every level with their hand outstretched, wanting a cut.

Like the old lady in the commercial says, “That’s not how this works. That’s now any of this is supposed to work.”

Right now the kids are out back, the rain falling again as they laugh and scream from the trampoline and after I post this I am going to take the HP 300 Touch Smart desktop down to the sand pit and put a couple of rounds through it for my own entertainment.

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