Road trips are History

We ruined the planet but we had alot of fun didn’t we? Just driving across the country for the hell of it, Sunday drives to grandma’s for homemade apple pie? Driving. Fast, slow, state to state, friend to friend, visits here and there, hop in the car and go. Our heritage, our birthright we thought, an outward manifestation of freedom. No matter how bad things got, we could always get away. Those who grew up near mass transit may not feel such a connection to their car, but when you have to drive eight miles for a gallon of milk, no bus, no train, no taxi, – and the cost of gas goes up, and you begin to not go places. Like the store, or the swimming hole, or the gym, or out to do laundry. The laundry stays piled in the back of the car, you drink water in your coffee instead of milk, your arms get flabby, you take a swim in the bathtub.

I like it. This is the first time in my life as a Boomer that I have seriously had to do without. Even when I was truly broke, I could always fill my gas tank. Peanut butter sandwiches, old cheese and used clothes, cheap booze, rats in the basement of a Brooklyn flat. Could handle that. But when you feel that if you go to the store and buy milk you may not have enough money to pay your heating bill, or electric bill ( two bills that were at one time almost irrelevent) things get interesting. Especially when you hate where you’re living; in the middle of a manure pile.

Move to the city, near mass transit? yes, thinking seriously about that. that’s inevitable for more reasons than gas prices. I’d say I could afford rent in a city like El Paso.  Bicycle? Go Fuck yourself. Motor scooter? Maybe. But in the winter? No, at the moment, just a good idea to stay home, make a list, go into town once a week. Save the planet, save my sanity. Suffer the withdrawal of not buying something every day, even envelopes, chapstick, a toaster.

How many envelopes have I thrown away in my life, just because they were slightly stained? How many times have I misplaced my chapstick and bought more, and how many chapsticks do I have in various drawers in my house? The toaster is dirty. Cheap toaster. Sometimes the toast sticks. Throw the thing out. Buy another one. easier. Toaster made in China. $3.44, same price as a gallon of gas. Maybe we will go back to heavy, well-made toasters, and we will keep track of our dental floss, and draw a funny smile face over the stain on the envelope.

This is the old way of life made new. The way of life which made our mother’s and father’s pick up dusty nickels and pennies from the car floor. I like it.


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