Saturday, May 15, 2010

Room in the lifeboat

So, you've got your very own doomstead. You are living where you plan on bugging in. Supplies have been squared away. It's a lifeboat, of sorts.

Are you going to let anyone in with you? Let's assume there's room and supplies for another person or more. Many have planed for family or friends to crash with them if the need arises. However, nobody has unlimited resources. At some point you have to say: no more, the lifeboat is full.

Is is first come first served until you are full up? Sounds fair. No need to turn anyone away until there's obviously no more room. There's a problem with that idea. Imagine things just keep getting worse and worse. There's no great end of the world as we know it event. Picture more of a steady downward slide with some jolts both up and down.

The first people who come to your door will be the least successful ones. They will be the ones who haven't made any plans, or have made terrible life choices. They'll fill up your lifeboat, and probably expect you to take care of them. The smart resourceful ones will be the last who show up at your door, when you have no more room. First come first served rewards failure and punishes success.

Recently I told my wife's friend that she can't move in with us. Yes, we'll have room at the end of June, but she's not going to take that spot. I'm saving it. It's not like I was throwing her into the street. She still has options, just not as good as moving in with us. I invited her to stay for dinner, and politely yet firmly told her she can't move in. We took her in years ago, but situations change.

My extended family has first choice. However, they are in that resourceful camp and would only show up at my door in true disaster, something like losing their house in a hurricane or a fire, prolonged unemployment, civil unrest -something of that nature. Should they move it with my wife and I, they'll have skills we can use. We've friends who'd we take in. They are smart people who aren't afraid of doing what has to be done. Some of them have helped us in time of need so returning the favor is the right thing to do.

We'd be happy to take in people who'd take us in. Not a bad rule of thumb. After all, it's possible for your lifeboat to flounder and then you'll need to beg to get into someone else's.

It's hard to say no to someone when things aren't that bad. Should things get worse, saying no will be harder . . . and more important. Just as well that I got a taste for it now.


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