Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Elephant in the Room

Today we drove the car to A's dance performance, which was in a biking-inhospitable corner of the sprawl end of town. We haven't driven since Tuesday. The less we drive, the more I notice driving. When we drive all the time, it takes on the feeling of normality, an everyday activity. It's only when I divorce myself from it that I can see it for the abnormality that it is - a blip on the spectrum of human existance, a time when humanity briefly lit the oil candle whose flame burnt fast and furious.

As soon as you start seeing the elephant in the living room, it's there staring you in the face everywhere. It's the guy with the leaf blower at the park, spewing the 2-stroke engine's lovely combination of burning oil and gas, it's the tense faces of the motorists who edge into the crosswalk while you're still in it, trying to shave a few seconds off of wherever they're in a hurry to get to, it's the half-empty buses going by, and the one person in almost every car on the road, and it's in the mirror the next time you pick up your car keys.

We don't want to see that elephant. We are spending so much energy right now not seeing the elephant, it's almost ludicrous. I posted an article from Rolling Stone about The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler's term for the post-peak-oil catastrophe we are facing on a bulletin board that I frequent. No one has yet commented on it, or maybe even read it. Meanwhile, Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, the Duke Lacrosse team, and Denise Richards' divorce from Charlie Sheen have all gotten commentary. Katie Holmes has more in common with ancient Roman gladiators than she will ever guess: a useful diversion from an unpleasant reality.

It's damn hard to look that elephant in the face. I think I'm going to go tune up my bicycle.

1 comment:

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