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A day in the life

Take an average month and imagine each Saturday's to-do list. About half the time my agenda runs a responsible, mundane cycle of groceries, laundry, and scrubbing the bathtub. The other half is packed full of volunteering, community festivals, farmer's markets, travel (business and pleasure), and the like. Yesterday resides amongst the more colorful half.

I started my day as I've started nearly every other Saturday for the past three and a half years, volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages. A national network of non-profit retails stores, Villages was started by the Mennonites in 1946 as an alternative to our country's shameful trade practices. Each store has a few paid managers and is then staffed entirely by volunteers. With incredibly low-overhead and 501(c)(3) status, the mission of Villages is to provide a fair and living wage to artisans in developing countries.

There are 100+ artisan co-ops in 30+ countries who have long-term relationships with Villages. Selling their goods in North America provides income they would not otherwise earn and therefore provides a life for their family, children, and village that they would not otherwise be able to provide. Many of the co-ops are comprised of disabled persons, or women involved in micro-credit businesses, or tribes who scarcely have economic mobility without these fair trade relationships.

The energy inside the store is tangible and radiates with light. Partly this is because the people who "work" there are actively giving their time to a cause we passionately believe in. It is also a result of the karma Villages is putting into the larger, global system. If we have to live in a capitalist society, we might as well find more ethical modes of operation. As evidence of this karma, I saw something yesterday that, in various forms, I see often at the store.

A woman came in with a receipt from early-June. For the past three months she has been waiting for her purchase to clear her bank account. When it never did, she came in to tell the store that the charge didn't go through and she would like to pay now. I strongly believe that positive action for the common good put into the system will equal positive results for the common good produced by the system. I love spending time at Villages and seeing this energy in motion.

It's not every day I'm finger printed and asked to leave permanent record of such on the merchant copy of a receipt, but then it's not every day I make a purchase at Salt Lake's largest sex boutique. This week I'm traveling to a wedding in Washington, DC. After the rehearsal dinner the girls are gathering for a champagne-flooded lingerie shower. We have specific instructions to bring "one thing naughty and one thing nice." One thing naughty left no choice but to visit Dr. John's.

One thing nice left no choice but to visit a boring department store and purchase, uneventfully and without criminal-style ink pads, a sweetly off-white linen camisole/crops sleep set.

One might feel that being the only person shopping in a sex boutique the moment it opens on a Saturday morning would be uncomfortable. I would argue that fighting hoards of housewives and salivating Christmas shoppers (I said Christmas shoppers) at an arts and crafts megastore is by far the more uncomfortable environment. It's the 8th of September and already Halloween gear is a thing of the past. I did manage to get in and out quickly with my intended items in tow: a black bag and black tissue paper for the naughty shower gift and a white bag and white tissue paper for the nice shower gift.

I also made the obligatory run to the grocery store. Even though I only have a matter of days until I'm out of town, the sad bachelor-esque vision of my ranch dressing, three eggs, and half a wrinkled cucumber begged me to pay even a small bit of attention to my pathetic fridge. I love traveling, but it takes its toll. On my way home I made the traditional weekend stop at Luna for my quart of mango Italian ice. Luna is the locally-owned gem that was forced to relocate in the wake of the Sugarhouse redevelopment disaster. They relocated to the ever-increasingly hip 9th & 9th neighborhood. 9th & 9th is a great example of an intentionally designed/developed urban character district, with walkable streets, mixed-use buildings, an art house theatre (Sundance hot spot) complete with indy film rentals, local businesses, single-lane traffic, trees and art doting every inch of open space, perfect.

I topped off the day with a movie at the $1 theatre in my neighborhood. I saw "Waitress" and even though Jeremy Sisto plays a total dirt bag, I fell in love with him all over again. His black eyes were a lovely end to my random day.

A version of home

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