Cabbed from sensational
- ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?
An allergy-aware menu. There would be wheat-free, egg-free, corn-free, soy-free, and so on entrees, as well as vegetarian and vegan. Dishes could also be modified if needed, such as a vegan wheat-free dish.
The base food would be organic and fresh; possibly bought from a local Whole Foods with the understanding that the restaurant closes if I run out of food on any given day and Whole Foods had no more. I'm also fascinated with hydroponics and might buy from a local seller if their food was grown by that method. Since this is New Mexico, however, I don't know that this would be feasible.
Oh, and needless to say the dairy, eggs, and meat would be from free-range and humanely cared-for animals, even if this means no fois gras or milk-fed veal. I would do my best to insure the food came from small family farms rather than factory farms. The coffee would be fair-trade and shade-grown, as would juices where applicable.
- ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?
The other day, while walking to somewhere, my train of thought jumped tracks once again. I was thinking of the jewelry stuff I would like to sell. I adore carved gems or glass/plastic which appears as such. Then a thought hit me -- jewelry, while being very pretty, is a fairly bloodthirsty industry, from the insane markups to the use of blood gems. So, what if I opened a fair-trade jewelry shop?
The idea would be this: I would find a distributor willing to pay living wages to supply the gem carvings; things like flower earring jackets and heart pendants and so on. They gem carvings are almost (if not completely) exclusively are from Asian countries, but I have no idea how much the carvers are paid. If I could insure that they can make a real living (as opposed to, say, a Nike living) from the carving I would be much happier and I could use it as a selling point.
Diamonds would, at least at first, come from Canada exclusively. As far as I know, De Beers has their hand in everything else, and I simply do not believe they could care less about whether people were murdered, mutilated, raped, and tortured by the people selling the rocks. Heck, they pay about about $25 total to mine, cut, and polish diamonds which they sell for thousands. The indigenous workers who cut and polish the stones used to receive something like $.25 a stone, but a few years ago the rates were lowered.
I think my fantasy diamond situation would be to find a bunch of people who feel as I do, pool money, and buy a small diamond mine; definitely not affiliated with De Beers and possibly in an impoverished community or even on land which should be preserved. Then we could have the folks from Canada help us set up the kind of mining operation they have there, in which the environmental impact is minimal.
As a group we would make sure that aborigines who wanted to live as they always had would not be bothered, and definitely not relocated to modernization camps which would keep them in poverty and hopelessness. Those people who worked based around the mines would have several investments made in their future; schools, safe drinking water, fields for grain and pasture for animals, help with farming methods for those not actually mining or finishing the gems... Pretty much what businesses should do.
The miners would have modern tools and equipment and managers would be very emphatically warned not to cut corners on safety measures and requirements. If a new danger is discovered, it would be accounted for. The cutters and polishers would earn a living wage, not a subsistence one. The diamonds, like those from the Canadian mines, would have some sort of identification method (in Canada it's a laser-etched copyrighted symbol) so people could confirm they were obtained humanely and were not funding vicious rebels.
My prices would almost certainly be no more expensive than other jewelers', and in fact might well undercut them, perhaps even significantly. Mark-ups on jewelry are so high that I could make a living wage for my local employees and myself as well as for the people doing the hard work. Hopefully the low prices as well as the emphatic use of environmentally and morally safe sources would awaken people to the extremes on the other side which is the norm for the jewelry industry.
There would probably be fair trade coffee available for browsers, too.
- ...wrote a book, what genre would it be?
Almost certainly fantasy. Sci-fi is a possibility, but I would probably avoid it because I would rather explain it via "magic" than by "Anne-science".
- ...ran a school, what would you teach?
Side note: It would not be a "traditional" school. My students would be encouraged to analyze and to think creatively, rather than being taught how to memorize and to conform. There also would be grades, but the grades would be by subject and by ability rather than by age. Thus, a student might be in 5th grade reading but 4th grade math, and his/her classmates would be of varying ages. Students would be advanced when ready rather than held back, so a student could go from grade 3 to grade 5 in a single year, or could stay in the same grade for two or three years without the stigma of being older than the rest of his/her classmates.
I would probably teach something which would annoy the religious right, such as comparative religions with equal time given to each one, including Christianity, all presented in neutral terms. Or possibly tolerance; not the kind which makes one group more special than the other due to past problems (no "white male guilt", in other words) but which emphasizes that even if customs are different or if skin color varies or orientation is something other than straight, they are all still people.
- ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?
Melodic, with intricate harmonies. There would be barbershop/sweet Sue/a capella (I wonder if I could get the Flirtations to re-unite for a one-shot), almost certainly accompanied choral, and instrumental. The songs would range from the sacred (not just Christian sacred, mind) to the secular and from the tragic (there is a particularly gorgeous and haunting song made up by slaves which would have to be on it) to the hysterical.
The one underlying theme would be the concentration upon the music; all words would be sung, not spoken, for instance, and any performance would be by competent people, even if community-based rather than professional. On this album none of the "cute" children's choirs in which the children shout on some vague note; none of the "everyday Joe" bad manglings, eg the Kit-Kat bar commercials; and none of the "I think I'm hitting the note but really I'm just screeching" which seem to happen so often would occur.