Sunday night 8 p.m.
OK, I’m about to leap off a precipice I’ve been previously intending to avoid.
Isn’t it funny, that moment where we just change our intention? We used to want that, but now we realize or simply decide ‘you know, I want this other outcome instead.’
I had come here thinking my buying was to be very limited and circumspect, mostly here to stoke working relationships and try to reconnect a bit with the deeper Indian bhava, or elevated devotional mood.
Meanwhile, I’m about to leap. I’ve found so much amazing old furniture and gonzo architectural elements these last days, and at such good prices, that I’ve now passed the shipping cost threshold—now, it’s cheaper for me to partially fill my own small container rather than ship LCL, where I fill only a part of a container that’s shared with a whole bunch of other random folks’ stuff too.
You can fit about 26-28 cbm (cubic meters) in a 20-foot container; the way the expenses work out anything over 10 cbm or so and you’re saving money versus an LCL deal. So, having hit probably 12-14 cbm, I reckon hey, I’m already saving money using my own box. In fact, anything else I throw in the box is, in one sense of mathematics, shipping for free (aside from customs duties etc.). In that sense, shouldn’t one be thinking to stuff that puppy with as much cbm as one can possible get away with? Like, even jamming another 15 cbm would be the ticket, right? Why, with that kind of space, one could buy another whole heap of pillars, doors, carved stone or wooden window sets or big furniture or who knows what all—and the relative cost for shipping would creep closer, on average, to less and less.
This is dangerous thinking.
First of all, I’m allergic to racking up credit card bills I’m not sure when (or how) I’ll pay off. Second, I’m already pushing my comfort threshold—and we’re talking suddenly about throwing another 10 or 20 grand at this situation, potentially. Seems imprudent, at best. In the face of this worst-in-a-lifetime economy? Unwise, even. Besides, where am I going to put all this cargo? My barn? Yeah, right.
And yet. Extenuating circumstances:
a) The USD is kicking tail on the rupee, more so than I’ve ever personally experienced. My dollar goes 10-20% farther this year than the last couple years. Seriously good for buying.
b) The suddenly quiet international shipping realm has, due to the worldwide economic slowdown, lowered shipping expenses somewhat.
c) The poor lost, empty ½ of the container. Empty! Seems rash, impudent even, to leave it so. I can hear the cries even now: “Cost efficiency! Boldness! Investment in history! Huzzah!” etc.
d) My barn! Surely we could make a little room…
Maybe I’m just flushed with enthusiasm, entheos, the sacred fervor that leads men to make wholly unwise decisions based on an ineffable and certainly unprovable underlying sense of how the universe is both structured and unfolding in this particular moment. Could be the fumes of India are getting to me, roiling my brainwaves. Could just be sh*t for brains.
But I’m seriously thinking of taking all the good work of the last 3-4 days and doubling down: buying as much in the next 6 hour day as I’ve bought the entire trip to date. Worst case, I trade a credit card balance for a barnful of vintage Rajasthani windows, arches, columns and architectural components. That’s a sucker’s bet if I ever saw one.