I would have gotten the seal coat on in a solid five hours. Unfortunately the block of time had a two-hour crack in the middle. Once again I’d underestimated how much material I’d need, and went back to the suburban big box for three buckets of sealer. I would have rather gone to River-Lake Hardware, two local guys who’ve been at the same address on East Lake Street since before Barbara and I hit town. They were the ones who sent me to the ‘burbs, and I have to admit that stocking as much petroleum product as I used (twenty-four gallons of asphalt and additives in various proportions) would take too much space in that little, old-fashioned hardware store.
The numbers favor shopping locally when you can. The 3/50 Project says that sixty-eight bucks out of every hundred spent stay in the community when you spend locally, but only forty-three when you buy from a national chain. Beyond that, I’d say that keeping the local economy healthy has other advantages. Multiple local competitors mean you’re not at the mercy of a home office that might mothball a store that wasn’t sending enough cash back home. One store out of many closes, and you can shop across the street; the local big box shuts and supplying your project or dressing your kids gets more involved. Family businesses model commerce for children. Once, long ago, I read that millionaires were more likely to have been the children of family businesses, restaurants, taxicabs, etc. Not that I approve of concentrated wealth, but we’re a commercial species, and business is an art.
Barbara had taken the car, so I got on the train, grabbed the care, and picked up three more buckets of seal coat. I almost got it all covered with two, but had to grudgingly pry open the last pail for less than ten square feet.
In a can’t-learn-less moment, I saw that the salt I’d put in some of the cracks had risen through the tar to whiten spots on my clean, flat, black surface. I have a couple of other reservations about my job, but they’re more like questions. I’m pleased and curious to see how the driveway fares this winter.
And Barbara told me I’m brave.