Let me tell you a story about Tiny Tina and Wasteful Wayne
A Typical Day for Tiny Tina
Tina wakes in her tiny home, makes her bed, and goes downstairs to use her bathroom which separates her solids from her liquids; one being composted and the other adding nitrogen to the greywater nutrients that water her flower garden. She brews some coffee using rainwater from her storage tank (supplemented by weekly water deliveries by a bike service or a hose from her neighbor) and solar power stored in her batteries.
She pours some milk she pulled from her propane powered fridge. Getting dressed for includes some bike-chic clothing, as that’s how she's getting to work today*.
Off she goes on her four-mile ride (living in a home on wheels, she can always live near her work). She’s getting some great exercise for her body and brain. She arrives at work fully awake and invigorated, making her one of the best employees…Going home, she picks up some urban farm-grown vegetables and cooks them using her propane (also supplied by bike delivery) stove.
Her LED home lighting and computer are all powered by her solar panels and pedal powered generator. Her hot shower is heated by the day’s solar heat and by her instant-on propane water heater. Her home is kept warm and cozy by a small wood stove (or propane fireplace). She smiles contentedly as she drifts off to sleep because she’s not worried about money, job security, or losing weight as every day she's getting fitter and becoming financially free ….
Tina lives (and pays a small rent) on the property owned by a wonderful family she has grown closer to over the past few years. She occasionally housesits and takes care of their two golden retrievers when they are away. She also helps with yard work, and shopping and sometimes joins them for dinner. When it’s cloudy or particularly hot, she can use an extension cord from their home to top off her batteries and a hose to top off the water tank. Tina has also gotten to know other neighbors who sometime rely on her for baby sitting too. Called ‘YIMBY’s’ (YES! In My Back Yard), her neighbors cannot imagine life without wonderful tiny homeowners like Tina on or next to their properties.
Several days a week, Tina volunteers at the local school during the day or recreational center at night helping mentor and tutor kids. Because she has enough income and a short commute from a relatively low-paying job, she now has newly found time to help others, further enriching their mutual lives…
On Sundays she excitedly gets up early to hit the Ciclovia, (Bmore Streets for People), on her bike joining tens of thousands running, biking, walking and just enjoying the river of humanity passing by. On her way to the new exhibit at the BMA, she stops by a farmers market selling fresh bread, urban farm produce and honey. She feels connected to so many folks as she chats with friends and farmers and people along the way. She notices the latest horizontal mural designed and painted by local youth. The air is clean today and very quiet except for the squeals of children laughing and playing in the street and the whirring of her chain and tires on the pavement….she passes many reclaimed blocks of previously vacant land, now sporting cute, tiny homes surrounded by newly planted edible orchard trees and vegetable gardens... Life is great!
After 10 years of earning just $11.00/hour, Tiny Tina now has her Tiny home nearly paid off (worth at least $35,000) and has, are you ready?......over $30,000 in the bank in cash. (See linked budget)
*She could also run, even barefoot…..a la "Born to Run" to work ☺… to make this crazy vision even crazier….or is it?
A typical day for Wasteful Wayne -
Wayne wakes up from his hangover. Too much beer again as he'd attempted to numb himself from his many worries. Rolling out of bed, he disconnects his C-pap machine that helps him with his sleep apnea. He feels the aches and pains in his osteoarthritic knees because he's 90 pounds overweight - a member of the more than 65 percent of adults in the United States who are overweight or obese. Stumbling into the bathroom he takes his pills: - aspirin for his headache and joint pains, Crestar for his high cholesterol, Prandin for his type 2 diabetes (he'd forgotten that alcohol and Prandin mix very badly, causing him to vomit last night), and Levatol for his hypertension. His doctor warned him last week that he's also at great risk for gout, many types of cancer, and fatty liver disease. He feels just awful.
He takes his shower using his electrically powered water heater (landlords often install cheap electric water heaters and baseboard heat because it’s easier, and they don’t have to foot the high monthly electrical bill). Along with his electric baseboard heat, it costs poor wasteful Wayne over $160 a month in electrical bills. Because he uses the typical 80 gallons of water daily, that too costs him over $30 a month. After drying off, he cooks some bacon and eggs on his electric stove while leaving lots of lights on because it’s very early and still dark outside. He has a long commute ahead of him, and Wayne needs to leave early or risk getting stuck in traffic. He couldn’t afford an apartment closer to work, and even this dive costs him $675 a month plus utilities. Getting into his car he sees he needs gas and that darn yellow warning light is on again….another $500 bill coming up for engine repairs on top of replacing his very noisy muffler ($350). Stopping at the gas station, he cringes as he fills his SUV tank - another $55 down the drain this week and lots more car exhaust for all of us to breathe. His credit card is nearly maxed out.
Although it's still very early, traffic is awful because someone crashed yet again on the beltway. That reminds Wayne - he needs to get that taillight fixed too since someone backed into it at the supermarket. Crawling towards the on-ramp, Tiny Tina, gleefully riding her bicycle, passes Wasteful Wayne on by….(let's review: Tina gets to work faster, is fitter, and is becoming financially free…) Wayne pulls into the parking garage where he has to pay $90 a month just to store his SUV every day. Looking for a parking space makes him dizzy as he goes around and around, going nowhere, much like his life. An hour after leaving his dreary apartment, Wayne finally makes it to the office coffee pot. He's grumpy and not looking forward to another day of drudgery at a job he hates but cannot quit because of his growing debt, health problems, and bills. On top of that, his boss isn't too pleased with his frequent absences and poor work habits either.
Once home, Wayne feels exhausted and plops onto his sofa, beer in hand, while clicking through lots of TV stations looking for some sports or 'Americas funniest home videos' to watch. He falls asleep while several talking heads drone on about who’s to blame for our economy…...ready to wake up and face another day.... in voluntary servitude…..
At the end of the day, Wasteful Wayne was much slower, got fatter, and become poorer then Tiny Tina. He burned lots of gas but not calories. He added to his debt burden and our air pollution and will have little if any money saved for his future. He’s too tired to volunteer to help others much less take care of himself. Bankruptcy filings for the Wayne's of America are common. His health will become the end of him as he suffers a heart related event, exhausts his sick leave, and loses his job. Depression sets in, and life looks bleak indeed….until....He meets Tiny Tina(!) at a stop light one day……(got to have a happy ending here somewhere!)
Wayne's World is all too typical of our American life. How close is it to yours?