Christina was excited, she came back from lunch and in front of her room was an unmarked bag with some exotic coconut alcohol that she had tried for the first time relatively recently. “What a nice present” she thought and her mind started rushing to who it was in the community that knew that she liked this brand and why they might have chosen to give it to her.
Alcohol is complex in the community culture. There are a small number of events where the community provides it. And we have recovering alcoholics who feel less welcome at these events. Since long distance phone calls (including to a number of other countries) are now free, my guess is that various forms of alcohol are one of the item that a large fraction of individual allowances are spent on. But at $75/month allowance for everything, this does not represent all that much alcohol, even when purchased in a thrifty way. And there is chocolate, which the community does not really provide in any quantity to be bought with allowance money as well.
As she investigated her present further Christina found out that while slightly intoxicated on this same coconut elixir the night before, she had written a TOR for the drink and Bochie had submitted the TOR for her. So she had ordered it herself. I appreciated that she reframed it as a present from herself.
This story is really an excuse for me to introduce the Twin Oaks TOR system. TOR (pronounced “tour”) stands for Twin Oaks Request. And it is the name of the white or pink pre-formated slip of paper which instructs the tripper as to what it is you want them to pick up for you whne they drive into town. The Tripper/TOR system is both reliable and comprehensive. The trippers are experienced shoppers, they know where the bargains are, they know where service and selection are, the trippers will even work together so if you request something from Louisa, but it is not in town, they will call the Cville tripper to see if they can get it for you instead.
This dovetails back into the whole discussion about sharing and reduction of resource use. We have 50 fewer cars then our mainstream counter parts. We do this by satisfying the need for cars in different ways than most US americans. Specifically, we dont commute to work, we centralize our shopping and we coordinate rides. The TOR system is so powerful that unless you love the act of shopping, it rarely makes sense not to use it.
Someone else will go to multiple locations to search for what you want, someone else does what ever accounting is needed for it, someone else picks it up and delivers it to your specified location and someone else will even return it if soem mistake was made. And this someone (the tripper) does not even expect you to thank them for this work, it is just part of their job. Part of our rich infrastructure.
So rich and so easy to use that sometimes you surprise yourself with presents.