I quit not just riding a bike on the rural avenues where I grew up, but walking upon them as well. Why? There is a good chance (twice now) of being bitten not just by a loose dog without vaccination, but by one whose owner is either unable to communicate or vanishes when hunted down. And then there are the official agencies whose de facto policy is that our ancestors did such a good job eradicating rabies that we can more or less coast on their fumes.I lived more than a touch of that life in my younger days...and there's a rebellious part of me that really wishes I could go back to it. To the simplicity of pure survival. To not having concerns about laws and consequences impeding my actions. To doing what had to be done, and being accountable only to myself. Things were a hell of a lot more cut and dried back then.
Forty years ago I assumed rightly that cars parked along the side of the road were out of gas or needed repair. Now? I expect that the cars are much more reliable, but the owner of any car parked outside my house is either stealing fruit, casing the joint, using drugs, or inebriated. Last week I explained to a passer-by why he could not steal the peaches from my trees; he honestly thought not only that he could, but that he almost was obligated to.
What makes The Road Warrior so chilling a metaphor is the combination of the premodern and postmodern. While utter chaos reigns in rural California, utter absurdity reigns inside the barricades, so to speak, on the coast. So, for example, San Franciscans will vote on whether to blow up the brilliantly engineered Hetch Hetchy water project (I bet they won’t vote yes), more or less the sole source of water for the San Francisco Bay Area. The National Park Service debates blowing up historic stone bridges over the Merced River in Yosemite Valley — as hyper-environmentalists assume that they have so much readily available power and water from prior generations at their fingertips that they have the luxury of dreaming of returning to a preindustrial California. Of course, they have no clue that their romance is already reified outside Madera, Fresno, or Bakersfield.
But noooooo--I had to get all civilized and responsible and start getting caught up in moral dilemmas and stuff. And I'm afraid that our morality, though it may be the number-one ingredient required for us to be able to call ourselves human, might well lead to a paralysis that allows human civilization to be destroyed. Destroyed by savages, who do not, and never have, concerned themselves with all that 'morality' crap. We hesitiate in our actions, to make sure that what we're doing is right. By the time we've worked it out, the savages have already beaten our brains in, and are stealing our wallets and raping our corpse.
I don't wish to become a savage--I just want a straight fight. No ambiguity, no dithering, no uncertainty. As in, "Let's just throw down and get this over with once and for all."
Perhaps I'm just impatient. Perhaps I'm just fried right now, since I left for work at 0700 and got back at midnight. Perhaps I simply lack enough faith.
All I know is that I'm very, very tired, in body, mind and soul.
God help me.