This article owes a shout out to Wrenchr2-thanks bud. How to salvage for a living as a hermit. This solves many different problems, such as Food Stamps becoming less of a solution for practitioners of genteel poverty, the need to socialize even if you are a hermit, and camouflage for your preps. As W2 said, trash picking and cigarette salvage let people know you don’t have a pot to piss in. But you have to be extremely friendly. Crazy and mean make you a target. Crazy and friendly make you an institution of the town.
Just like every other survival strategy, salvage has a shelf life. You can’t duplicate those strategies that used to work under different circumstances. For instance, a homogenous white middle class nation could get away with having fallout shelters in the suburbs. Do that now and all the Other Colors will target your ass. You used to be able to get a job in a nearby small town and Hippie Farm on an affordable lot of land. Now, property taxes alone will force you to commute to a big city to work in a corporate job. You used to be able to live in the country and take twenty years to build up a mail order business and build up your homestead and pay off your somewhat reasonable mortgage.
Not anymore. It wasn’t enough for the elite to send all the jobs overseas. Now they had to triple house and rent prices and make health care unaffordable. The end is so friggin nigh economically. You don’t have five more years ( going by the fracking oil peak ), let alone twenty. Your best bet now is to buy cheap junk land and put all the expenses into a commuter vehicle. Better a repo’ed car than a sheriff auctioned farm. So, every era sees a different economic collapse coping strategy. I bring this up to acknowledge that one day, even the hermit salvage strategy won’t work. There will be no more surplus to salvage. But until that day, it might be for you.
Right now, folks can afford $7 packs of cigarettes and to throw away aluminum cans. That means you can salvage tobacco and get grocery money from metal recycling. The restaurants can throw away half their food, so there is some salvage there ( not that I would recommend it-if for no other reason the general hygiene of everyone handling or eating that food is worse ). Everyone can still drive, so you look like a Special Ed on your bicycle. Until everyone is walking or biking. Than you don’t look so eccentric. But coming into town isn’t just about making $2 on aluminum salvage and getting your tobacco for the next day. You might be burning more calories than you earn.
This is also a good way to socialize. Now, a lot of us reading this rightfully hate other people. Other people suck. But you can’t take hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and give it the middle finger. The plain fact is that under stress you have no control over brain chemistry and can’t just “fire discipline” your way around the inherent weakness of the semi-automatic. You can’t force an erection away when you are 18 years old. You can’t turn off the baby factory siren when you are a 22 year old female. These are hardwired behaviors. Backed up chemically. What, you think you are monk that can control his body through meditation? Good luck with that one, Grasshopper.
Our hardwired need to socialize cannot de denied without hard consequences. It might only be once a week, or every third day, but eventually you will need to get face time with another human. So you might as well make the trip worthwhile and make some money and score some free stuff. This is working smarter rather than harder. You come back to your bolt hole with water, your clothes washed, a basket full of aluminum cans, a pocket full of cigarette butts ( save the shreds of tobacco left, then put aside the filters. You can probably pull apart the filters and use as fiber in mud bricks. I mean, if you are trying to waste nothing. You can also pulverize Styrofoam to add to cement to make aircrete bricks, so I would imagine this would most likely also work with mud. Hey, its free-experiment ) and your grocery shopping and library books.
Yep, I’d seriously consider a bike trailer over bike baskets if you become a hermit. Normally, I can’t stand trailers as they are another money and maintenance item, but if you can salvage the parts, and you obviously have the spare time, it shouldn’t be an issue other than the hills. The trailer full of salvage might also be a conversation starter. Once you get to be known as Happy Hermit ( and, obviously, help this along by reaching out to greet and help others ), hell, folks might send you to places they know of extra salvage, to odd jobs or the like.
One strategy might be to collect free paperback books, and then give them away as a mobile library to supplement your salvage activity. The cops might harass you if you were selling them, but most likely won’t if you are giving them away to the poor and deserving. This should garner support around town. Decline money ( or they will think you want to get high ), but thankfully accept “garbage” folks offer. Most people throw away their aluminum. They see you coming around they might donate it to you for your community service. Think about how most folks would appreciate it if you went into the hospital waiting room and offered free books so they could pass the stressful time better.
The free book service is just one idea. Surely there are other things you can think of. Volunteer at the old folks home or thrift stores that support crippled kids or whatever. Word gets around you are a helping decent fellow, and you are no longer a smelly homeless guy, but a eccentric living a stress free low impact lifestyle. You might even find a sugar mama you volunteer with. You can stay overnight at her place when you come into town ( although, obviously, go with “starving artist” rather than “lazy slacker”. Have an artistic activity you can prove. This excuses being poor. Being a slovenly bastard is no excuse for a woman ).
Anyone can be a drug and alcohol abusing moron too lazy to breath. You work just a tiny bit at it and you can be that harmless guy folks love and support, as you bring a smile to their faces and a nostalgic remembrance about how the country used to be. You stay busy, support yourself, completely hide your prepping, get plenty of exercise and probably still get laid.
END ( today's related link https://amzn.to/2lsNni1 )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
Good article James. Definitely worth cultivating social contacts and maintaining a positive reputation no matter what your chosen (or default) post in the world.ReplyDelete
The Peak Prosperity guy (Chris M.), described the concept as building social capital and is part of his however many step plan.
Contacts and reputation lead to opportunities and as corny as it sounds, a synergy. A result greater with the combined parts than what could be accomplished by one isolated part.
As primarily an introvert, I prefer myself most of the time. Forcing myself outside my "comfort zone" (sorry for the New Age-y term) and taking the chance to make contacts almost always pays off.
I actually purchase significant books I've already read when I see at thrift shops. Specifically for passing off to others I meet.
The great thing about this is that it still works great for introverts. Once you wait long enough, EVERYONE is eager to socialize. You don't force unnatural behavior that way.Delete
Reply to comment from the previous days thread:ReplyDelete
"and reloading is a actually a bit more finicky because it's black powder (or so I understand).”
@Dingo. Blackpowder reloading is actually pretty straight forward, as long as you follow a few basic rules. You must use a drop tube, so that the powder is compressed, without crushing it (limits fowling) use either a fiber wad between the bullet and powder, or better yet, a gas check, and always fill the case to full capacity. If you don’t fill the case to full capacity, then you must use a filler such as corn meal. But you can never have air space in a black powder cartridge. Another consideration is that if you are using actual blackpowder (not Pyrodex or one of the other imitations) then you will need special equipment (i.e. brass or aluminum blackpowder powder measure, and all brass funnels and other equipment, etc. In other words, a metal that can’t possibly spark and set the powder off).
Forgot to mention that you will need to use grease groove bullets and a good lube to eliminate fowling. Also, don’t load the case so full with powder that when you seat the bullet, you crush the powder (again, causes excess fowling, and loss of accuracy).Delete
I'm *almost* ready to get into reloading. I'm fairly confident I won't be getting an anti Zulu gun because money. I *may* get a Martini Cadet rifle in .310 That's an obsolete calibre as well. So you have to reload for it
There is another downside to not socializing. People talk and they want to a least know you a little bit.ReplyDelete
When I moved onto my land, I tried to be like a ghost. Sure, I would wave my hand, but never talked to anyone. That got the cops called on me. Folks relaxed a lot when the cops left and wasn't riding in the back
Damn high maintenance neighbors! :)Delete
Well, I can understand, a few of them have kids and I can see where I may have acted like a fugitive from the law by avoiding them.Delete
Had I stopped and just talked to them a little bit, I could have saved myself some trouble. Lesson learned. No man is an island
Having relocated habitats a few times myself. Best advise I can give, is to always make yourself known in your local. Doesn't mean ya gotta socialize, but it's nice to know who and what surrounds one.Delete
A good bit James. I too have had to live a frugal life with many years spent paying for an ex and lids. Oddly enough right things are the best they have ever been. I can buy beer, a new car or go on a trip far away without a thought given as the consequences. Yet I am forced to hesitate on spending money because it is obvious to me me as well yourself that the current interlude is only a small tear in the matrix. Sooner or later we will have to content with a rest that will not be nice to say the least.ReplyDelete
Then all we can do is laugh and reminisce about the good ole days that are now. Cheers and thanks for writing this..
Yours in Odin,
You sound familiar, faintly. Have you been absent and returned?Delete
James I swear! Just about the time I think you have reached your full potential you write something like this and reach a whole new level. This was an excellent post! Practical yet funny. I tell everyone I taught you everything you know! :-)ReplyDelete
If you are a scrap/recycle collecter a regular cycle-scehedule-pattern (day before trash pick up, just on monday-friday,etc) will establish a minion as a regular (harmless-no threat) put some jesus paraphernalia on your bike and wear US g.i. veteran garb to signify you're not a scumbag, so as to be accepted. Operate in daylight hours only. Although a hermit, be in tune to a changing society or security level out on the streets. It could go hot conflict in one afternoon for any ole stupid reason.ReplyDelete
I don't think you can be attuned to a changing security threat that can go hot for no reason. The best bet is to pick a small town and mostly just eliminate that issue.Delete
I beg to differ, once you established a route, look for the changes. A yard sign here, getting run out there. Getting a buck cup of coffee at McDonald's early in the morning will get you caught up on gossip even if you don't engage in conversation. Pay attention to what is in the garbage. All those things can keep you attuned to subtle changes, it's up to you to translate.Delete
I did a version of this working for the food bank, taking the pulse of consumption and business. So, okay, I think you are correct here. Apologies.Delete
If a soft/slow pace collapse occuring (like 08-09, but without government propping things up as much) there will be a lot of dinky nuances to be watched for. There will be territory wars for prime trash dumpsters with bum-fights breaking out. Delivery trucks not backed into a store dock, but exposed in parking lots will get taken down like hyenas on a crippled calf. With copper/resource thefts surging average citizens will get confrontational with long tube shotguns at anyone strange in the area. Blow-back and crossfire casualties will make the hobby too dangerous to enjoy, stay in the compound. Good work, Jim.Delete
Bum fights. The new sport to gamble on, to replace the NFL and etc. :)Delete
I don't smoke, so forgive the ignorance of my question. If a person is recycling used cigarettes to smoke the residual tobacco, why wouldn't you reuse the filter? All the chemicals that PM adds to get you addicted are still there, so presumably the filter would still have value? I would think you could peel off the paper around the filter, leave it in the sun to be sterilized, then re-roll it with your own rolling papers.ReplyDelete
The reasons I haven't considered that are the burnt ashtray taste of the filter, mostly. I think it shrinks and is partially plugged, also. Mostly, before the filter/tubes got to be cheaper than rolling papers, it was just used to fill a pipe. Which is still the extra frugal way. I wouldn't use any old paper on it, although now that newspaper is soy instead of chemicals I might try that once. If I was desperate. So, I guess scrap paper is the super ultra frugal way and pipe a close second.Delete
Example here Lord BisonReplyDelete
My sister moved to another house in town. noticed an elderly mexican man going down the street checking the recycle cans put out for the garbage company for aluminum cans. She recognized him from a business she owned years before. He was always neat and put other garbage back in the cans after taking what he wanted. She ran out and flagged him down to take a trash can full of cans she was trying to get someone to take to the recycler (20 miles away). he now has a regular stop and she is happy to help him out.
Who wouldn't want to help out a person as opposed to a corporation, exactly!Delete