Let Us Sprint For The Line

And so, while the end-of-the-world scenario will be rife with unimaginable horrors,we believe that the pre-end period will be filled with unprecedented opportunities for profit“. (New Yorker Cartoon by Mankoff)- 

Such words recall the scene in The Pianist (Roman Polanski film, true story of Polska pianist who survived WW 2 Warsaw Ghetto). The pianist’s family, an erudite father and mother, grown children both professional musicians, have been herded into a town square with hundreds of other Jews…a young boy approached them to sells some candy for an exorbitant amount of money. The father admonishes him: “what are you selling them for, don’t you know you’ll be shipped out too, and then what will that money do for you?“… nevertheless, the kid demands his five zloty.

The starving old father pays, unwraps, and then very carefully divides up the candy six ways. It’s the last ‘meal’ the family shares before being put on different trains.It’s a little bit like the prospect we have before us now, only the Nazis are us, not some malevolent Other. We are silently agreeing with some disembodied Hitlerian directive that money, commerce, growth and war are the ways to solve global crises… and we somehow are not doing enough to get rid of this Hitler, this directive.

At least this is how it feels to me.At last the American news media are covering the news of the upcoming UN meeting on climate in Bali. A month ago, when the Nobel Prize was awarded to Al Gore and the IPPC, Fox News was still insisting the global warming ‘question’ was a ‘controversial topic’ that is ‘hard to prove’. Upon putting a link in this blog, I see a US Govt. url stating that the Bush Administration is also doing its share of raising environmental awareness..!! look at it yourselves.I have trouble feelling hopeful, knowing how many households accept everything they are told.

Marin is reputed to be progressive, liberal, eco-friendly. Sometimes it’s true. But many times, it’s all about Shopping For Stuff (psst! wrong tactic!) with a “green ” sticker on it to mitigate your secret guilt. A place like Marin is a giant oxymoron, since all the Save Lake Tahoe and Buck Fush bumper stickers are on SUV’s… we are so clueless!!!

Today was a quiet day here in Fairfax, yet my neighbors seemed only to drive in and out of their parking spots, and three different times I heard a car pull up, park, door slam, person then jumps into a different car…slam door, and speed off. So someone nearby just comes home to change cars! Charlie and I looked at one another and he said, “if not for them this would seem like a country lane”.

It’s true. There are people on our cute little street whose lives seem utterly defined by their (minimum 2 per person) cars. It takes a lot to keep those babies running.The odds are that at some point I’ll be ‘tapped’ by one of them, a fact that keeps my helmet on until I get up onto our walkway. What do these people think about the war, the climate, the greenhouse gases? I am afraid to ask them.

They see me every single morning. Compost digging has become a ritual, and it coincides with the climbing into the car ritual of Neighbor #1. So to them I look like a person who does nothing but turns food scraps into the compost heap. To me they look like babysitters-for-automobiles. They are either washing the cars or vaccuming them, driving them or parking them. Since there are half a dozen members of the family (all driving age) and an average of 4 trips each per day (2 driving episodes per trip) we have a bizzy little scene going.

I wonder if they know I’m silently judging them. I know they are silently judging me, because when the kids were younger, they didn’t hide their contempt, which was probably passed down. I am praying my contempt is well-buried. Neighbor-baiting never settled any scores.

I believe that in the pre-end-period might have a few joys in store (like the ‘feast’ on the curb in Polanski’s film) and I’m determined to be savoring them, while clinging to my belongings, my illusion of safety, my little asylum.

~ by jacquiephelan on November 19, 2007.

5 Responses to “Let Us Sprint For The Line”

  1. Very interesting observations and insights,it”s really opening and transformative to try and see our every day lives in a new way. You are great at that. But in the end when you choose belongings, i of safety and asylum that could limit your choices. Native Americans often act from a perspective of 7 Genarations? We have a neighbor across the street who is a zombie leaf blower freak obsession capital O seems a staple of our Driven (as in car) Culture, your considered a genius if you concentrate with a complete exclusion of others. Keep up the self overview insights. Thats how bike riding is so transformative, something always Happens on a ride! We were down at the Eastshore State Park doing a Bike Patrol because of the beaches being closed due to the oil spill and their are just millions of birds side by side, egrets with great blue herons with Canadian Geese seeking refuge. Thanks for being our original roll model for this type of riding. Love Mo of Mo&Kai

  2. Hi Jacquie,
    Interesting. So, is it time to get out yet?
    I’m still stuck in northern NJ (Morris County), wondering if I’m going to be able to sell my house. On my little dead end street all the neighbores cut their grass several times per week. I cut my lawn perhaps three times a year. Our yard is full of wildflowers and is pretty amazing in spring and early summer. My kids and I love it. I’m sure it pisses off most of the neighborhood. There is a large underground bee colony in our back yard; totally cool and it’s been there for years.
    I’m seriously wondering if it’s time to get far, far away from the NYC metro area. I find this area disturbing and depressing and the direction of our country alarming. I want to move to a rural location with a bunch of like minded people and prepare for the deluge.
    bruce boysen

  3. Nothing that a 25% gas sin tax wouldn’t fix.

  4. Very eloquently put Jacquie, not even a tax hike would solve it. With our £5 ($10) a gallon in the UK, fuel junkies just cut back in other (non essential) areas, say food and clothing maybe.

  5. Jacquie — A friend pointed the way to your bog. Great writing. Keep at it. Still making music? And do you plan another trip to Portland anytime soon? Happy riding –

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