I have not owned a refrigerator for years.
Search me, I have no idea. Long enough to have forgotten the last time I had one.
As a result of this, I tend to rely on other people’s refrigeration systems.
I love cold beer.
Sure, there are other things that I need refrigeration for. But I think the thing that I would miss the most if I didn’t have access to refrigeration would be cold beer.
So if you want to live your life without a refrigerator, and still drink cold beer I have some advice for you.
Live A Local Life
A big part of getting your beer cold without a refrigerator is being close to someone who has one. There is no magic trick, so we have to rely on social cohesion and human interaction.
The first step to getting at cold beer is to live near a shop that has both beer and refrigeration, and is willing to sell it to you.
This seems like a simple-simon thing to say, but think about it.
Could you achieve access to cold beer when you want it without a refrigerator in your current lifestyle?
Wait a second before you answer, because you aren’t allowed to use a car either.
So now you see the how important your local stores are.
When we have our own refrigeration, and private transportation, we create a somewhat distorted view of community. And our view of what is local shifts.
Part of what this shift creates is energy consumption that is much higher than it would be otherwise.
It also creates much higher costs in a persons life.
Not only is a local life better for the planet, it is much cheaper as well.
The Kingdom Of Cold
In the modern age we have become obsessed with having a house full of things. And to some degree that is ok, but it has come at a price.
We don’t have the same sense of community that once existed.
Much has been lost, and among these losses are things of the highest value.
We forget that the people who own and operate stores have lives, and that a business is not just a place to go into and spend money.
They are social services, that have to take on risks just to provide us with the convenience of shopping.
When we start to look at stores as places that aren’t a part of the community, and solely as means of profit we lose our ability to connect to the people who make a community function.
A local life is a more connected life, and one that engages the community at a personal level.
I know the family that keeps an eye on the refrigeration that I use personally, and we talk.
Living locally is living at a human level, and not hiding behind the mask of a consumer.
The Information Market
Communication is the key to furthering human progress, and social cohesion.
I sat down with the owner of the local market that allows me to live without a refrigerator and car, and still drink cold beer.
The idea was to get a feel for what it takes to serve a community. While it seems like it would be an easy job, it is anything but.
In addition to being able to live cheaply, without having to maintain and power appliances, the owner of the refrigeration that I use gave me tremendous insight into my local community.
You see, when you shop at a market or giant store where there is no personal connection, you are interacting with the world blindly.
A person is so much more than a store clerk, even if that is what they do for a living.
I would like to share with you the opinions of a man who runs a small business in rural Uruguay, and I feel as though his view of the world can teach us all something.
And I want you to remember all of these things exist because I treated him as a person, and knew that we are all so much more than we appear.
What Is Good In Life?
When I arrived to interview Pedro early on a Sunday morning, I wondered where the conversation would take us. We had talked many times prior to the interview, and he had shown himself to be astute and remarkably well informed about global affairs.
Especially for a man who runs a small market in the country-side.
We sat outside of his market on some flimsy plastic chairs, his old dog at my feet and a thunderstorm threatening.
The dog had been abandoned, and then taken in by an elderly woman who later died. Now she lives in a fruit crate out front of the market and eats pastries most of the day.
The dog and I get along very well.
When I asked him if there were risks associated with his job, I had expected him to tell me about the two times he was robbed at gun point.
Crime has been getting worse here in recent years, and with a liberal judiciary that refuses to incarcerate violent criminals, it will only get worse.
He didn’t mention the robberies, and began to tell me about the real dangers that his little market faced.
A Risky Location
While there are many ways that a socialist government attempts to protect the health and wellbeing of the public, unfortunately the results are mixed at best.
Because a market is looked at as a profitable business, taxes are high, and there are no discounts given for things like electricity.
In reality the services that a local market offers are decidedly to the benefit of the community. The margins that Pedro supports his family on are very thin.
The electricity in Uruguay is very expensive by world standards, mostly because it is either renewable or imported. It is also unreliable, and the service is cut without warning sometimes.
Sadly the government here is extremely corrupt, and instead of getting the kind of rates that Vadenfall offered the Danish consumers, the Uruguayans pay much more for their wind generation.
What this means to Pedro is a lot of stress and uncertainty. If he loses the ability to keep his freezers running, he could lose most of his food in the space of a few days.
UTE is the state power monopoly, and they charge some of the highest prices in the hemisphere for power. Pedro is paying a lot of money for their service, and they offer no protection for him.
This is just one of many things that a seemingly private business had to deal with in a country that views any commerce as a way to stuff even more money into a bloated and corrupt “socialist” government.
The Center of The Issue
One of the biggest concerns that Pedro expressed to me was his view that the world was becoming extremely polarized.
When I asked him what the single biggest threat we face at the moment is, he looked right at me and said without a second of thought:
He went on to talk about the risks that divisive thinking has on a society. And that extremism is never the solution, it is only the beginning of even greater problems.
To Pedro, we need to live more in our center. Both as a society and as people.
For those of you that don’t know, both Uruguay and Argentina are very similar culturally, though Argentina is a number of magnitudes larger than its little sister across the river.
Both countries have approximately half the population in one large city, and of course most of the wealth of the country is produced outside of the city.
Pedro thinks that the capitol of a country should be in the interior, and not a port. Whether or not this would make a big difference to the politics is questionable. But the demonstration of where the wealth comes from is clear.
Cities produce nothing, and use their economic influence to control the wealth producing interiors.
This is not a new social dynamic, and sadly there is little chance of it changing.
The Wisdom of Pedro
Pedro gave me two responses very quickly.
The first was that Trump is a menace to the human race.
The second was extremely uplifting. When I asked him the best part of living in rural Uruguay, he replied:
And they are all there at the store from time to time, though he and his wife do most of the work.
There is no doubt that Pedro has made something really incredible out of his life, and it lets so many other great things happen.
If I could make a suggestion: Instead of looking for wisdom from the mouths of politicians and experts, try talking to people in your community instead. You might be very surprised at what you find.
And look for cold beer, it is always a good sign that you are close to something valuable.