Life Among Peers: finding services on our level
Two ideas here.
One of my goals is to live among people I can relate to in some way, people who live in a way that allows relating. I think I'm flexible. It's not like we all have to be the same---a wide variety of people CAN be related to.
But I think that mass-society cultural features get most of their power by taking possession of relation. It's what we need most as humans---so that's what a big corporation (or political or identity lobby group) is going to try to control MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. When you buy their product you, like a lab rat, then get a little dose of relation. It's more powerful than heroin. They run it like a spigot. If you pay, or obey, they turn it on. If you're with others who are paying, you welcome each other. In every case, the people are losing and the company is mopping up. The relations in the end aren't real. Because they've been bought. And aren't our own. So there's that. Getting in the way. Of me being able to deal with some folks. And it hits everyone, rich and poor alike.
If I lived in a town where there was less mass-market cultural behavior I think I'd do better. I think everyone else would do better, too. They'd be more themselves and could have their own relations for a change.
But does such a town exist in America? Does America have an allowable or viable cultural basis that doesn't depend on cultural exploitation anywhere? I mean a whole diverse town, not just a single scene. Most other countries do, but America might be uniquely dry in this way at this point. Tell me it ain't so!
One possible pathway to this kind of living seems to be to not only live among but to do one's business with people who are on your same level in some important ways.
Of course, as a sidenote, to have some such relations to the ART and artists in ones life is basically the whole point of OYB. The idea here is why not extend it everywhere?
I've made two of these breakthrus as they relate to biz so far in my life, but only now do I see how they relate and might be expanded upon.
The first was with a carpenter I know. We wanted an addition to our house (hard to have a great cook in the house and a closet to cook in) and asked a good friend builder for a quote. $15K. He buys the best computer-driven music studio equipment and travels around the world and parties hard: he has expenses. And he works mostly for well-off people in a wealthy town down the road, so he gets the big bucks, and rightly so. He was even giving me a break in his quote. I think. Then I got a quote from another carpenter pal. He lives in the sticks near us, he works for lots of poor people, he doesn't travel, has no expensive hobbies, goes to bed early, gets up early, grows his own honey and berries, for his main hobby (canoeing) he makes most of his stuff, for what he doesn't make he's a rep for the makers and a coach/fitter/consultant, so he gets stuff cheap by giving back, he charges less for work even though he's also totally worth more, he's oldfashioned. His quote: $4K. It was my first experience of the "two worlds."
I thought it was just an exceptional case, due to my quirky friends.
I'd been getting my cars worked on at a couple small local shops. Man, the costs add up. But the guys have overhead, bosses, workers, etc. New Harleys.
My farmer brother started laughing and telling me about this new guy he found to fix his cars, who never says what's wrong or what he's going to do or what it'll cost nor does he call when he's done. He's a big ole' outlaw who has a junkyard around his house, plus cows, on the edge of town---in town. I finally took my cars out to him. I noticed he had a skeet-thrower nailed to his back porch. There are guys, kids, oldtimers hanging out around the various garages and barns. It's been an amazing experience. I leave my car, eventually I call and ask what's up and he says it's fixed. I ask how much and he pauses and thinks a bit, "Twenty." This is how it goes every time. "Fifty." He lives in a shack and has no overhead---just like me. I don't know where he gets his pricing. Martha totaled our Volvo last winter. This guy also does bodywork. We dropped it off. He didn't say a thing. A couple weeks later we call to ask if he thinks it's worth even fixing. "It's done." He repainted the front end, put in a new (old) hood and front end, pulled the engine and things back into place. Oh and he put a new (used) set of tires on it, all around, Michelins. I'd also left another car to get a new muffler. "For both cars, uh, how bout $900." OK, so he got overspray on the windows---I was happy to get out some acetone and a scrubby and not mention it. Anyway, I'm thinking he charges one-third of other places, at most. He wings it a little---when we needed a new window motor and he put in a new one for $30 I noticed that we now had a drywall screw thru our armrest, but what the hey. He's in my league, man! THAT'S THE MAIN THING!
So...now all I need to find is a DENTIST and a DOCTOR who live and think like we do, and we're set!
I bet they're out there. Not everyone wants to lose a portion of freedom to second houses, or to lose their time to waiting in airports, nor to consume foreign lands with tourism, nor to keep fussing over fancy new gewgaws that are boring in 10 minutes. Sure, they can be a class-step above the average, but no need to get out of hand. There have to be high-end providers out there who are DIY indy types like me---at least part of the time. Who work out of their house, who value their free time, who are willing to be flexible with people they like to work on---or who maybe charge the rich folks what they can pay and the poor ones what they can. That is, they could both not have to charge so much nor work so much if THEY lived cheap and also could charge less depending on the customer. Is there a law against it? Are they out there? (My autobody/car guy also does high-end bodywork where he gets to bill insurance companies. I betcha he's not charging em $30 for window motors then! ...Nor giving them drywall screws in the armrests.) Of course, the human body isn't like an autobody, but most of this stuff isn't rocket-science. There's a huge social/class/image component to it. Some folks love that stuff---no harm in it if you can afford it. I'd just like to think there's an option out there for those who can't. There have to be doctors who like to go bluegill fishing down the road with their buddies in ten minutes after work rather than plan all year to fly up north and hire guides to take them flyfishing for trout at The Lodge.
Anyone know any? : )