This is an old back-burner post that I just found while surfing the archives of the Trailer Park Cyclist Blog. I really got a kick out of it and I have absolutely no memory of writing it. Channeling my inner Thoreau, no doubt.
I hope you like it.
Observe: I have here in my left hand...
Throughout history scholars have despaired of our race, our species. As far back as Socrates, probably. Maybe even farther back, all the way to Thales, who if I remember correctly was Socrates' Grandpa. My Greek History ain't that strong. But also there is the Old Testament. Plenty of complaining about mankind in there! Mostly by God. He creates man and calls him Adam and Adam looks lonely and so God creates (stop me if you've heard this one) woman and calls her Eve...or Adam did I don't remember and I'm too lazy to look it up. If you want careful scholarship go to the library and check out a book, for chrissake's. This is the Trailer Park Cyclist and I'm typing in a trailer that actually resembles a beat up old railroad boxcar from the Depression. The Great Depression, not this pathetic little depression that everyone seems to think is over except for me, cause I'm still here in this...wait...
Sometimes I Get Sidetracked
So God created the first episode of I Love Lucy and then, of course, the trouble started. Lucy got pregnant and had little Ricky, except in the Bible version his name was Cain and he wandered the Old West playing a flute and kung-fu fighting and spouting wisdom in a way that makes him sound like maybe he got kicked by a mule...
“What's that, Voice? I'm kinda busy here.”
I said that you are confusing Kane the fictional Shaolin monk with the first natural born human, Cain, who by the way, was also the world's first murderer.
“The Kung-fu guy?”
Of course not.
“I know, Voice, I was just messin' with ya. Now let me get back to work, here."
So anyway, even back in the very beginning of time (as recorded by the religious right) God was usually pissed and I often wonder about that. My Grandpa was a kind of god to me, when I was little, and he was an avid keeper of tropical fish. It was a big deal. One medium sized tank, carefully arranged and meticulously cared for and he loved those fish. The tank in his den was holy and after supper we would sit and study on the fish and he would sometimes tell me stories. Not much though, he was half Cherokee and given to the taciturn nature of the Natives, but let us set that aside for now. The important part of the fish story I am sharing here is that my grandfather was never angry at his fish. He never complained about the fish or changed his mind and, uh, flooded the fish tank or blast out his wrath and holler at the fish like some kind of drunk on the roof or otherwise piss and moan and send other, bossier and holier-than-thou fish into the tank to tell the other fish how to live or how to pray and if Gramps ever sacrificed his favorite firstborn fish for the good of the other fish I never heard about it.
But I was little and maybe there were things I shouldn't know about.
I'm Glad That's Cleared Up
So: Good Morning, everybody! It's your old buddy Tim Joe and now that the right hand has got all of you looking at the left hand I'll say what's on my mind. It has not one damn thing to do with religion or politics; religion and politics are the crayons we use to color inside the lines that are being drawn somewhere by forces we don't know about and never will, completely. Even though I am a conspiracy nut, I try not to indulge in conspiracy theory. “Geronimo!” Hah! , remember that? Back when we all still loved poor Mel Gibson, the Lance Armstrong of Hollywood. No, what I'm up to right now is trying to get a handle on the news. The other morning I was bored and since the recent storms provided me with a rich windfall of firewood I foolishly decided to fire up the Ol' Quasitron 6000 Steam Powered Search Engine and see what has been happening lately in the world outside the Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Fish Camp.
Ladies and Gentlemen! The Quaz!
I carefully arranged the abacus-style keyboard to form the word “Wassup?!” and tapped the glass on the dials to make sure nothing was stuck. I made a quick note that I was going to need another five gallons of Brasso, various parts were turning green. Then, leaping up, I grabbed the big Go! chain and let my weight (plentiful as it is) pull the giant flywheel into action and set things to spinning...
Recession Over, Everyone is Rich Again... well, that's certainly good news. I guess my check is in the mail. I give the brass wheel another spin.
Economic Improvement Results In Uptick of Housing Market, People Buying Larger Homes...
“The Wall Street Journal reports today that the upturn in the marketplace and an increase in new home construction is revealing that first-time homeowners are once again buying larger homes, in record amounts. These indicators of a reviving economy were good news to Wall Street and hint at a light at the end of...
“STOP RIGHT THERE!” I screamed, almost blinded by the tears of rage and the overwhelming sense of absolute incredulity I was suffering as I read these words. I grabbed the slowly spinning Search wheel and gave it another spin. Dashing up the steel stairs to the keyboard, I quickly, sheer dread numbing my fingers, rearranged the beads to say “What About the Cars...” Then stumbling back down the stairs to the big six by ten foot cathode ray black and white screen, I saw only static and a rolling horizontal bar. Kicking the Quazitron injudiciously, I watched in dread as the screen cleared and I saw what I knew would be there:
Automobile Manufactures Report Record Sales...
“Major automotive retailers reported today that sales have reached a five year high. Leading the market were the new “crossover” cars with improved fuel economy, many getting over twenty miles mpg...
I hopped over and collapsed into my chair. I propped my throbbing foot up on an old discarded wire spool I had found somewhere in the Park.
If I were God, or even just a drunk on the roof, I would right now be screaming at the fish.
Cue Sam Kennison
“BIG HOUSES NEED MORE RESOURCES TO OPERATE! BIG CARS NEED MORE OIL! AREN'T YOU FUCKERS PAYING ATTENTION? AAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!
Here We Go Again
Obviously not. We are obviously not paying attention. Like precious tropical fish in an aquarium we foul our tank with our waste. But there is no kindly halfbreed god to change the water and check our pH. It is up to us. No matter how wealthy we become, we will continue to be slaves until foreign oil is no longer of even the least interest to us or to the benefit of our national economy. “They” know this. “They” don't care. They know we are stupid and oblivious and distracted by bright flashing images and shiny new things.
I discovered this “base-life” that I am living by accident. One major mishap in my business, a contract that I didn't get, put me on hold. It kept going. New work came in, but it was not enough to support our lifestyle. We moved to the Pines, temporarily, three years ago. The Blonde, despairing of me ever again rising to my former glory, was forced to get her now teenage twins out of the trailer park. This place is one foul fish tank indeed. She moved into a condo in town and I moved into this boxcar, because it was free. Then the microwave blew up, a victim of way too many chinese noodle suppers. Later, the refrigerator died. There was no money to replace these things. I put them into the trailer park recycle pile and swept the floor where they had been. I shook off the dust. I have been living without these necessities for awhile now. I barely miss them. I started counting how much electricity such a life needed. Not much.
I realize that most people could not live this way. Not American People, I mean. Otherwise, there are people living this way all over the planet. Up until about a hundred years ago, everyone lived this way. We were just not doing it right. Coal smoke blackened the sky and disease spread rapidly, as it is wont to do in a fish tank. But we could do it better, and we did. But...
Everytime necessity forces us to get it right, we rally our resources and do so. Things then get better, of course, and then...we go right back to doing the things that started the problem in the first place.
Lifestyles of the Down and Out
I'm living without an air conditioner. In Florida. In the summer. It's no big deal. I have screened all my windows and moved some walls around and set things up so I can catch the breeze no matter from what direction it comes. I have strategically-placed fans. Life without refrigeration is a little tougher. I miss drinking cold-as-hell beer. I don't drink ice tea, or milk or chilled lemonade. I drink room temp water from the tap. I'm still alive. But yeah, a refrigerator would be nice. Before it died, I was using one of those little dormitory units. It was plenty. The microwave? I never did trust those things anyway.
I'm not holier-than-thou, I hope. Just poor as hell. But I am, on purpose or not, a kind of warrior. I am a soldier in the Fuck You Army. Fuck you and your oil! I'll walk, pedal my bicycle or take public transportation. If I need to get my tools to a job site, I'll hire a Cab Truck in the appropriate size to haul my gear to the job, where I will store it with my fellow tradesmen in our surplus-purchased shipping containers.
When off work, I can get anywhere I want to go on the buses and trains that run every fifteen minutes. There are bicycle cars that are a blast to ride in, a chance to hang out with my fellow cyclists. There are public bike stands at every stop.
Since we overcame 'Them” and initiated a national movement to outlaw private ownership of automobiles, oil is cheap, and local governments have been able to rebuild failing infrastructure to support sustainable transportation. Our downtowns are alive and hoppin', with food stands and cool saloons with bicycles tied up out front instead of horses, even though horses are also making a comeback. Horse crap ain't a problem; urban gardeners fight over the stuff.
Now that we have all caught our collective breath and returned to sanity, the immigration problem has gone away. We're doing our own dirty work now, since it doesn't take a small fortune to support a family of four anymore. The poor immigrants all left, headed for China.
Every Movement Needs Someone To Blame
The strangest twist of all was how, based on the writings of a simple little man living in a trailer park in Florida, we changed our way of looking at life. It became ridiculous to want More. We learned to laugh at greed. Our national and tribal incentives were toward Less. Popular culture faded away, pretty much. The silly and pompous became more than just foolish; excess wealth and power struggle and avaricious intent came to be considered a sin punishable by death. (Yeah, we killed them. Brittany was the first to go) After Simple and Poor became the New Rich, professional athletes and big name actors (like Mel) were endangered species that we didn't try to protect. Heroes to us these days are the people who are living the simplest, doing the most with the least. There are local competitions for the Least Awards.
The Malls are all livestock barns now. There are waiting lists for trailers in small mobile home communities. Local craftsmen build our furniture, we eat locally grown crops. There is plenty of everything. Even for the bums. In fact, like ancient Greece we have bums who we indulge. They think they are philosophers, but really we just get a kick out of their bullshit.
We owe all this to the Cyclist who showed us that to have too much was a true crime, against man and nature. There is no benevolent keeper-of the-tank to take care of us. If we don't learn to live simply by choice, our descendants will learn to live simply by necessity. We are the Gods. It is Us.
All Hail The Trailer Park Cyclist!
Glory Be To The Trailer Park Cyclist!
Hey, wake up!
“Wha...where, uh..I guess I nodded off.”
You were laying there on the floor snoring like an old hog. It was positively indecent.
“Uh, sorry, Voice, I got a little worked up over the news...”
I don't know why you even bother. Anyway, get up, I want you to meet my cousin Earl.
Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Dream Machine
Written Sometime in 2012-13, posted June 27,2014 (the future)
Written Sometime in 2012-13, posted June 27,2014 (the future)