" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

January 15, 2011

Owner-less for Life

I took this photo in a Victoria tea shop last February. A bike. Just one example of a highly shareable items that fit well into the trend of Owner-less-ness.

When I lived in Vancouver, I loved belonging to the Cooperative Auto Network. I loved being able to get online and just pick a car to use when I needed to use one.  Gee. Let's see. Did I want to drive a truck? Maybe I'll opt for the yellow Volkswagon bug. I was beginning to get pretty partial to the Pontiac Vibe station wagon. The Mazda Protege had the best visibility even if it was extremely boring.

It would have even been better if the Car Co-op started purchasing really high end cars so instead of just driving regular cars you could opt for the Jag or the BMW or the Mercedez Benz. Of course, the fees would have gone way up.

The best part about the experience is that when I'd finished my trip and use of the car, I loved being able to lock the keys up, and walk away, knowing I had absolutely no responsibility for the stupid metal hunk of machinery if someone happened to sideswipe it, steal it or it went up in flames. It wasn't mine. I didn't OWN it. I didn't have to repair it. I didn't have to think about it at all except for when I was driving it.

Lately, on Salt Spring, I've been noticing a trend. It might be a trend. Maybe it's just desperation masquerading as a trend. It could be both.  I've noticed that more and more people are building structures on land that they don't own. I have trouble getting my head around this. You're going to make yourself a beautiful little space without any control over a landlord's decision to let you keep it on their property? What? Are you crazy? Why put money and effort into building a structure on a piece of land that you don't own? You might have to just leave it if something changes. It's like a floathome on land. I don't get it. Nano homes. Yurt-like structures. Call them what you will. Get a trailer. Buy a caravan. Build a tree house. Use a tent. Not my idea of ideal.

But, maybe I'm just being extremely unimaginative. Perhaps these people are actually pioneers. Maybe they're buddhist-like explorers recognizing that every moment of our lives is about letting go. They have excelled at non attachment. They're able  to risk the possibility for creating a pad of their own - for as long as possible - and accepting the inevitability of change.

Maybe they've got something there. I mean, if you know you'll never be able to own, why not borrow? Respectfully of course.

You can use your imagination and think about all the possibilities here for owner-less sharing. People with huge yachts that just sit tied up could share them. Massive million dollar homes that get used a couple of times a year could be shared. Restaurants, especially on Salt Spring in January, could be rented out for events targetted at attracting those to the island for whatever type of gathering. High end camera equipment. Art Studios. Workshops. Bikes. Motorbikes. Horses. Expensive art.

The potential for the sharing of irregularly used, high end items makes a lot of financial and environmental sense.

Just two days ago I picked up a hitch hiker on my way to work in the snow and he got a call while in my car. It was someone talking to him about his sailboat.

"You own a sail boat?" I asked. "Well, I own a shared sail boat," he answered, "except I'm the only one who seems to pay attention to it and use it."

Okay, so there may be some drawbacks to the sharing depending on who you're sharing it with and the arrangement.

But, it all ties into a trend as pinpointed  on Trendwatching.com referred to as Owner-less. 

Access, Baby! Isn't that where it's always been at in the end?

No comments: