Monday, June 09, 2008

An Old Coot Don't Need No Stinkin Gas

I have a privileged slot in the pecking order when it comes to buying gasoline. What I mean is that I don’t have to buy much of it. I work at home and 90% of my everyday commerce is conducted electronically. I emailed an entire construction specification manual today by email. It was the 4th book I have written in 3 weeks that reached its end user without my use of gasoline.

Taking advantage of the information age was a decision I made 10 years ago and it has paid far more lifestyle and financial dividends than I would ever have imagined. I don’t have to wear clothes when I’m working. I am able to do my run and weight training on a regular schedule since I don’t have a boss and can work deep into the night if I need to. I only drive in rush hour traffic if I happen to go temporarily brain dead and schedule a meeting in downtown Dallas or Fort Worth at a bad time. I eat the food in my refrigerator instead of fast food or restaurant food which is a necessity of my training anyway, but at least I don’t have to carry my lunch to work!

I’m not bragging, just feeling good about my circumstances. I know there are millions of Americans, especially young Americans with families that drive many miles to work for small wages. Surely this gas situation is a huge strain for them. I have empathy.

Still, maybe there is good that can come from the situation. Maybe more of us will learn to work from home and take full advantage of the new information age, lowering carbon emissions and simultaneously shooting a middle finger toward Dubai. Maybe we can learn to bicycle and plan our trips. It wouldn’t hurt Americans to lose about seven gazillion pounds collectively. My Lord, people surrounding me in public are just sooo fat these days! Riding a bike or walking like thinner Europeans can’t be as bad as the fattys might imagine. Maybe we will rediscover that we have neighbors living alongside us.

Maybe we will all stay home and become Guitar Hero legends. I can play Black Magic Woman now as well as any fifth grader on his second try and I’ve only been practicing for 2 months.

Maybe we will find something far more important. Maybe we will rediscover the simplicity of right now. That may be a confusing sentence without context, so let me explain. The frenetic pace of our culture has taught us to scurry like mice on a wheel. We run from here to there with a sense of urgency not limited by space, distance or the cost of fuel. In the course of that scurrying and the brain patterning that accompanies it have we lost our sense of simplicity, planning and the idea of being present in the now? Have we lost sunsets and meaningful conversation?

All that may seem a tad gray or old fashioned. Sorry for sounding like an old coot that don't need no gas.

Maybe what we will learn is that we have a new purpose and stewardship not only with our energy and environment, but also with our personal sense of where we are going as individual souls and why we are going there. Maybe we will have time to ask the question "why are we always needing to travel so far outside ourselves and at such a rapid pace." If we run fast enough might we be able to escape ourselves? A Jackson Browne lyric observes, "no matter how fast I run, I can never get away from me."

If we all had more time to sit at peace outside the immediate view of our steering wheels and gas gages and think about our lives and our perspective of the 'right now', is that really a negative?

You tell me.


Jenn said...

5 years ago, I asked my boss if I could work from home one day a week. She said yes. Once I'd done that for a while, and she'd seen that it didn't affect my productivity (negatively), I asked for a second day. For the past 4 years, I've been able to work from home on Mondays and Fridays. And I allow my employees the same. Our company isn't quite at the point of being completely comfortable with "remote" employees but I think we're fortunate because we are in a very corporate world.

Anyway - the hilarious part of this story is that the reason I initially asked for the days at home was to save on gas. Holy cow! I don't think it had hit 2 bucks yet.

I ride the bus to work and Bellie and I have begun to walk our errands when possible. I had to learn to relax and just enjoy those. They take way longer than driving but I get more out of the moments as well.

Any way - I hear ya.

Lynilu said...


(And you thought I would write my usual novella, didn't you???)

Anonymous said...

7, ya see. You ARE and green n gray at the same time. Ahead of your time as usual. Nice cooler combination, too.

Seven said...

I wish we had buses here. My daughter in St Louis takes the train to work with our 4 yo grandson. It stops right at the door of the hospital where she works. The day care is across the street. Hooray for affordable public transportation.

You have carpal tunnel syndrome?

Always have been green, but I resist the peddlers in the temple. I designed and oversaw one of the first sustainable buildings in the Southwest and I am an ardent student of the sustainable concepts. That's one of the reasons I get aggravated with the green peddlers that want my mandated CE hours in sustainable design that I am capable of writing a book about. Sheesh, don't get me started. Yep I'm green with a rational thought about the process but capable of admitting my own scientific ignorance. However, at the end of the day I am of the opinion that doing the right and obvious environmental thing has no less value because I live in confessed scientific ignorance. We do owe future generations the right choices when the wrong choices are readily apparent. For example, the value of energy independence from the World's oil bandits seems so obvious to me.

kathi said...

You actually said "fattys". Babe...

Seven said...

ooops is that a naughty word? Lots of people are.....I mean its just descriptive, er maybe a teeny bit judgmental?

~grey said...

We are over $5 now...
No end in sight.. is there.

Just better get use to it and learn to walk more...