Saturday, March 8, 2014
Travel is said to give a person a different perspective on things. I must admit that back home I live in a bubble of my own making. Living in the woods isolates me from so much.
Sailing gave me a different perspective, but not as different as one might think. A sailboat is it's own little world. No matter where we went, we always had our own boat to sleep on at night. We were in a little slice of our own reality.
The real culture shock has been hanging with my dad. Like many older retired folks, he watches a lot of TV -really loud. EVEN THOUGH HE'S NOT DEAF. Everyone else mumbles. There is no escaping the never ending stream of commercials. How do people up up with that crap day in and day out?
Then there's the world of endless strip development. You Americans know what I mean. The roads are lined with car dealerships, fast food places, pawn shops, store front churches and sex shops. The mix might vary a bit by region, but the look is much the same. For some reason that monument to capitalist excess and bad zoning laws bummed me out.
The whole house of cards rests on cheap imports of fuel and goods. There is no way most of those places could stay open without relatively cheap and abundant energy. Maybe fracking has extended the day reckoning for such places. A bit more fossil energy made it into the system, but at huge financial and environmental costs.
I don't want to sound too much like Howard Kunstler here, but he has a point. This lifestyle is not sustainable.
I've no illusion that my little bubbles of isolation will be unaffected by major upsets. At best, I think that my choices may mitigate the damage. Perhaps things will only get bad instead of horrid. If nothing else, at least I don't mistake the world on TV as the real world.