1. I was walking through the Safeway parking lot on the way to work and ended up walking in between about four large semis offloading and waiting to offload in the hours just before the store opening. I felt as if I had wandered into the other world; from my consumer dimension into the goods infrastructure dimension. Here these emissaries from the world of large global movements of goods were lumbering around and I was the interloper.
2. On the other side of the lot and up the alley, coming the other way with the early morning sun slanting across her face, was a young woman in Hutterite dress. I thought wasn’t it odd that in this time of accepting and seeing all manner of dress from hiphop to formal traditional to street bum to business casual to retro and so much more, that something about this stands out. Its not retro but it is old, and the point is that it signifies standing out from the crowd as well as being part of a very specific crowd. Nobody out there is wearing retro-hutterite for the hell of it, and one could very well wonder why this is out of the vernacular. Could it be that it somehow is too meaningful for this zeitgeist of transcending meaning for style?
3. A little later that day I pull into a parking space near the store where I am going to buy some dog food and bones. Looking through the windscreen of my hyundai I can’t even see the top of the grill of the pickup truck facing me. You almost need a ladder to get into this thing. It makes me angry just to look at this absurd vehicle. It personally threatens me as it would crush me in any accident. (This is an argument for central planning; if all vehicles are about the same size your bumpers would all meet each other and the damages both to person and car would be less). And all too often I have witnessed the pea brains driving them fail to stay in their lanes when making simple turns. Either they tend to be worse drivers or they really are too big for the road. Together with hummers, these ludicrous vehicles overflow their parking spaces and crowd their lanes. How is it that these become only more popular when gas prices rise and global warming is on everyone’s minds? Is it actually because of those factors; is this joyously fiddling because Rome is burning?
4. Reading the Atlantic, I run across an article about an oil field starting to decline. One of the graphs shows Saudi oil production running at roughly 9 million barrels a day of the last 7 years. We get so used to big numbers. I was thinking I could hardly imagine the capacity to produce my house full of oil daily over that period of time. Often when I see an object I try to think about how many there might be in the world….staplers, lamps, hard drives, running shoes, miles of paved road, bottled water, nails, Christmas ornaments. How many staplers have I personally owned, lost, or thrown away (or been provided to me), and how many millions exist and existed, and then how large the mountain of materials was, and the pool of energy required, to make all those staplers, not to mention the system required to design, produce, advertise, transport and sell those staplers? And those are just the staplers!