Oh dear sweet electronic commerce…How I miss you! I imagine some of you out there occasionally curse your credit cards (or perhaps just the credit card bill), but today I ask you to pay a just a little homage to that plastic marvel. I don’t know about you, but I think I sometimes forget just how amazingly convenient electronic commerce made my life in America. You don’t want to walk 10 feet into the gas station? No problem… Just insert your card into the magic slot! Don’t want to change out of your jammies and leave the house? No problem… you can buy everything on the internet! Literally, you can even have your groceries delivered to your door!
Why all this blabber about commerce, you ask? Well. It all started last Saturday afternoon. I arrived back at my village after a nice trip to ‘town.’ I began my ritual Saturday cleaning. I swept around the house, attempted to search out and destroy an army of ants and the occasional enormous spider. After cleaning I relaxed with a large glass of ice cold water. Delightful! Naturally, not soon after my beverage, I needed to take a trip to the little girls’ room.
This is when I discovered my dilemma. The roll of toilet paper in my bathroom was precariously small. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem at all. I live right across the street from a very well stocked ‘falekoloa’ [what we call little concession stand type stores scattered around most villages]. However, I opened my wallet only to discover a $50 pa’anga note. I know, I know… how can a Peace Corps Volunteer have big bucks like that?! ;) The $50 P note is all the bank gives out, so we all have to discreetly go to one of the few stores that can make change for a fifty and get some small bills!
The ‘falekoloa’ by Nola’s house does not have change for a $50 and it most certainly does not take credit cards! Thus began my week of fasting. Juuuuuuust kidding. I don’t have that kind of self-control. However, I did have to utilize some tricks from my dear mom’s childhood. The limit is apparently two toilet paper squares per child when you have a houseful of hooligans. So…I adhered to that policy and thankfully just barely made it until the end of the week. Crisis averted!
Moral of this story. Nola: keep an emergency fund under your pillow for toilet paper and the occasional piece of candy! The rest of you: Be at least a little thankful for that magic plastic card!
[sidenote: I’m relatively sure my friendly ‘falekoloa’ owner, Peni, would have just given me some toilet paper if I’d asked him. So…. maybe a crisis was not actually imminent, but it sure makes for a better story.]