Monday, May 25, 2009

A good day without money

(Because I haven't started yet I let my imagination paint some alternative scenarios of how things could go in a life without money. This is an imaginary story of someone refusing to use money and things not going as expected.)

I wake up on a park bench early in the morning as I hear someone shouting at me. I notice an angry guard who’s motioning me to leave the only resting place I could find. I gather my blanket and shove it to my backpack that is filled with a change of clothes, a laptop and an empty water bottle. I’m grateful it was a warm night.

Still tired I feel I could use a cup of coffee to start my day. I see a small kiosk that is just opening. Already from the distance I can smell the aroma of a freshly baked coffee. “Could I please have a cup of coffee for free, please?” I enquire politely, just to be greeted with an awkward stare and incomprehensible mumbling. I check my watch to see it’s still a couple of hours before the office opens. I decide to wait until that to get my caffeine dose.

Inspired by the idea of a free cup of coffee waiting for me, I take a bus towards the office. After being seated I realize the driver staring at me, unwilling to close the door and seemingly waiting for a payment. I explain him that I’m not going to pay for the ride if it’s ok with him. “Then get out!” he shouts. I feel too tired to explain so I exit the bus and leave him a piece of paper summarizing my new lifestyle. He doesn’t even look at it but sweeps it on the floor nonchalantly.

Encouraged by the sun rays warming my face I set on my journey by foot. It’s going to take about an hour but I reckon it’s going to wake me up at very least. I have time to watch an increasing number of other early birds rushing for their jobs. They look not only tired but also annoyed having to wake up so early. I keep thinking what their professions are. I’m pretty sure of the cosmetologist, banker, cab driver and gym instructor. The ventriloquist and vet I doubt, still amusing myself with these crazy first impressions.

Arriving at the office door good 45 minutes early, I rest myself against the wall… just for a while.

“Good morning!” I hear my boss say with an awkward tone in her voice and wake up. “Uh, good morning boss.” I force myself in an upward position and follow her to the office. She keeps glancing at my soggy appearance but doesn’t say a word for a while. As I’m about to enter my cubicle she finally utters: “Maybe you should take a day off if you are that tired. Go home and rest.” I’m speechless for a moment. “Um… Actually I don’t have a home anymore. I refused to pay my rent.” After an uncomfortable silence she motions me to her office.

She demands to know what’s going on in my life. After my thorough explanation she sighs: “That’s the biggest nonsense I’ve ever heard. I’m worried of your mental health. Could you go see the company doctor the first thing you leave from that door?” she suggests. Without hesitation I explain her there’s nothing wrong with my head. “Well, then… If you don’t need money, why are you here? Why don’t you just quit?” sensing a hint of frustration in her voice. A few moments pass in complete silence before I get up. “Ok.” I reply and leave the door.

As I pass my cubicle it dawns to me how many years I’ve wasted in it. Now that I’ve freed myself of money, why should I continue filling spreadsheets every day? I take a blue post-it note and write “Resigned” on it. I paste it on the computer screen and decide that’s the last time I’m going to touch the damn thing. On my way out of the office I take that one more cup of free coffee from the machine.

Next few hours I sit in the shore and think about my next steps in life. The sun is much warmer than ever before this summer. Amazing opportunities start dawning to me as I stare at the white serene clouds. I could hitchhike around Europe. I could go and work in an orphanage. I could get back to painting – something that I loved to do years ago when I still had time for it. Or I could go and check if my old guitar is still in my friend’s garage.

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