…either figuratively, literally, or both.
do you live rural, urban, suburban? is ‘your town’ full of boarded up commercial buildings; have thrift stores sprung up in lots of formerly mom-and-pop stores? has your town been gentrified and the poor people forced to ‘relocate’ (creative destruction)?
what’s your local ecosystem like? do you have access to healthy water or do you have to buy it, non-toxic soil, and common lands? if you’re at least semi-rural, have you seen any monarchs (an indicator species) or swallowtail butterflies this year or last? have other insect species been far fewer than in the recent past (bugpocalypse)? what is the current state of climate chaos in your town? are you living in smoke from the plethora of wildland fires in the west? if you’re in a drought, what intensity level are you in?
do you have a garden? do you have skills for moderate self-reliance when the next batch of shit hits the fan (i.e., home repair, electrical repairs, sewing, light carpentry, food preserving, etc.)? have you made community with those around you and share & trade aid among yourselves? have you always been thrifty, as in: how many times do you wash your silver foil?
Are there fracking operations afoot nearby? Does your area get sprayed for mosquito control, and if so, can you opt out? if you’re in an agricultural area, do you get ‘accidentally’ bombed by glyphosates like RoundUp? are the wells and aquifers, if any, in your area drying up and toxic?
if you rent and aren’t under rent control, has the rent increased almost beyond affordability? I’ll assume, maybe incorrectly, that most of you have actual grocery stores to shop in (as opposed to many inner-city food ghettoes)? are there summer farmers markets?
do you have access to ‘affordable’ health insurance if you want it? are you on medicare, and if so, do you like it and the costs of its extra plans? do you even go to doctors? (I don’t, will never again). are you and your spouse/partner if any, healthy enough? what sort of psycho-spiritual state/s are you evidencing?
are you financially okay, or is the wolf constantly at the door? are you, as the saying goes, one medical emergency away from bankruptcy or having to hit the streets? are you on the street, or couch-surfing with friends or relatives? do you have any of your adult children or grandchirren living with you?
do you need to (ahem) ‘partake’ of what’s left of the social safety net? Is your neighborhood mixed race or homogenous?
Mr. wd and I are on a very low fixed income (SS: see the negative effects of the IRS ‘paperwork reduction act’, ptui) for the most part, save for when Mr. wd at age 70 can pick up work as a master finish carpenter, so the wolfs’ almost always at the door. I’d had to ‘retire’ from 30 great years of body/soul work my k-nees k-rapped out from Amazon-woman over-work, causing our savings to plummet. When appliances and our old car or truck or ancient tractor go belly-up: OMG. We live in the Four Corners in Bumfuck County (h/t Edward Abbey), CO east of Mesa Verde National Park, in the shadow of the La Plata Mountains.
We hand-built a 12-sided hogan in the late ‘70s on 20 aces that we’ve paid off, and are tryin’ like hell to hang onto it, partially to have something to leave our kids. For that matter, thinking of leaving this golden oxygen-rich hill on which we’ve planted a couple hundred trees and shrubs on which critters of all kinds find refuge for some plastic-fantastic drywall ‘affordable housing’…well, never mind.
We’re healthy in general enough save for the fact I’m otherly-abled, as they say so politically correctly. Mr. wd finds himself of needing cataract surgery, so had to buy some extra Medicare plan to cover it. He got fined for every year he hadn’t bought the plan initially, too, and pays up the wazoo (for us) for it every month; he’ll be eligible soon for the surgery.
We use spices as medicines in food, and a local natural foods store allows us to buy bulk foods and spices at cost+ when we order through the store, bless the new owner’s heart. As we tithe a hella lot of food into the community, the savings sincerely help that effort.
We’d had to give up our big veggie garden some time back, but have a wee one out the backdoor of the unfinished basement, and a greenhouse to start seedlings. We grow flowers and herbs galore, plus a few veggies, tomatoes, and prize-winning cannabis. So life’s good, except when it ain’t, and we do remember to say prayers of thanks every night before sleep for all that we have, knowing how little others have.
tell your stories as you will, excepting maybe your sex lives too very graphically, grin.
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)
Thank you, wde, for the semi rhetorical springboard into your copious personal appraisal, so well-considered and written as usual. Being reticent to deliver an in-kind representation, I can use your thought provoking approach to tag along a tad, for urbanites face vastly different albeit in solid ways similar circumstances to their rural sistren.
All of our water is subject to contamination by the unscrupulous, for example, where on the one hand municipal suppliers might offer protection via additional care and treatment, the potential disaster involves numbers too large to contemplate.
Many others can likewise relate to penalties so high for suddenly “subscribing to health coverage” that they answer the question why somebody wouldn’t bother even when their health enters a final phase of misery. The word, I think, is “prohibitive”. A few years back this concept became clear enough that an amnesty sign-up period was enacted, which amounted to a windfall the industry chose not to pass along to its customers.
Shelter too is subject to the same forces who’d toss people out, the difference being the nature of the street on which one lands and the quality of the road they’re able to travel thereafter. As meagre as they are, cities have resources for the homeless who cannot for whatever reason can’t afford to be into some self-reliance kick as either survivalist or slow suicider. As J von Oly might attest, the demographic background and education and ideological inclinations and motivations and abilities of the homeless are as diverse as those of the housed, even if the most largely visible aspects fall into neat little clichés.
A most significant discrepancy comes to mind via the expression “urban farming”. This city is considered one of the greenest in terms of acreage and distribution, and rightly so. And even though I have a lived experience myself with the large backyard garden of my childhood versus the contemporaneous boxes on the balcony, and friends who are active upon their little plots of land that speckle the local landscape, lamentably laughable is any notion that, were things to get dire, city folks would stand a chance.
Nutrition is so central to health that if a salubrious society were truly a central desire, it’d do well to begin with socialized nourishments. A plant in every pot. If history has taught us anything, however, it is that aggregated citizen wealth contributions flow such that reactionary plants called Pol Pot will more likely continue to justify the misappropriations for defense, this being the pot that both the rural & urban dweller tithe to whether they want to or not.
Be well. I love Iris DeMent.
guten morgen, mein herr. thanks for the thoughts, and of course you’re right on all counts. and really, urban gardening won’t make a major difference unless folks have stored a hella lot of dried legumes, spices as medicines, and even oils, which bodies cannae do without.
at least here rec cannabis is legal as long as one farms it under lock and key; we of course…well, you know. and our rulers don’t really care how miserable we rabble are, they know we’re not apt to rebel…at least yet. ‘pol pot’ is wunnderful; mr. wd reminded me of the wild names of strains afoot, like ‘mob boss’ he’d picked up for our Lazarus neighbor next door.
yes, j von oly (lovely) knows only too well and just emailed a whole new load of fukkery afoot in his camp and the one next door, but: ve moost haff more petrol stations !
from what one reads, homeless shelters are incredibly variable, depending on the seasons, rules about when one must be out the door in the a.m., the often ubiquitous crimes inside, etc. but it’s all right: the senate just past the new ndaa that gives the military a mere $703 billion to play with! the house had already passed it, and my oh my, it was a duopoly effort, save for the few dems who will run for prez in 2020, save for maybe the criminal joe biden.
thanks for adding to the thread. “it didn’t have to be this way…except that We were this way”, (john trudell, rest in power)
sorry i’d had to dig this out of thrash; do you always sign in w/ the same email address? i’m trying to find any connecting reasons for all these hiccups. but if one disappears, please email me straightaway, okay? of course, our email provider sometimes fails to deliver, arrggh.
gads, thee two fawns are outside just havin’ a ball running and jumping and racing around. i love that young critters love to play and goof around. i love iris too, esp. her ‘let the mystery be’ apatheist one. (i resemble that.) ;-)
Sorry, I should have writ my comment elsewhere and saved it. I don’t have the time & energy to put that together again. Thanks, though! Nice entry.
New Mexico is a poor state in general except for the rich who in general ignore those who aren’t. I aren’t. But it is drop dead gorgeous in the rainy season, and it is raining. We commuters to casinos and yonder stores talk excitedly about how green, notice the green? and look, the horses can actually graze in the pueblo hills! Smoke shunts through, from the mountains or from California when it’s a high haze, but the rain is keeping the smell away. For now. And most of our burnables in the near mountains have already burned.
I take my pink umbrella when I trundle. So there, rat race; this is me! It’s a blessing to be living on pueblo land because there’s a bus service for all us deplorable non-car-owners. Takes a day to shop but I’m in no hurry. The people are kind. They help.
gotta say i’m envious of your green and rain. our fields have burned to tan w/ a scant amount of new green from the inch of rain and hail we had…last week,i think it was.
it gives me pleasure to hear how helpful folks are down yonder, though. someone at c99% had noted that although they live in a very red state area, people are apt to help neighbors in need regardless of political affiliations.
sadly, around here the daddy-warbucks new gentry are not kind, not one bit, but a hella lot of them came from texas and california to buy up ranches galore, dude them up w/ their mega-bucks. when we’d first moved here, there was more of a live-and-let-live attitude, and a hippie could dance with a mayor, lol.
file under OTOH:
it’s closing time for me; my days start about 4:30, and i’m even more bushed that usual. tonight’ lullaby is also from american story-teller iris.
‘Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let’s blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free
While we sit gloating in our greatness
justice is sinking to the bottom of the sea
Living in the wasteland of the free…’
sleep well, dream well if you can. g’night.
Well, this isn’t exactly ‘my town’ but it is a NZHerald report on the doings of a (very) distant cousin of mine, who happened to take over the Prime Ministership of said native land during the last few weeks – from a commentary by Heather du Plessis:
“That went well. Six weeks of Winston Peters as Acting Prime Minister wasn’t nearly the trauma his critics predicted. If anything, it was a reprieve. Up till then, this Coalition Government had been either frantic or chaotic. You choose your adjective.
But, Peters’ polished performance could be bittersweet for the actual Prime Minister. When Jacinda Ardern officially gets back behind her desk tomorrow, it must be great to know that her 2IC hasn’t blown everything to tiny pieces. However, it must also suck to come back to work with everyone discussing how good your maternity cover was at your job…”
Of course, the Herald was a John Key supporter, so maybe the snide remarks about PM Ardern aren’t to be taken at face value. Nonetheless there was no love lost when Winston joined her team, so the praise there was earned. Bravo, cuz! (He wouldn’t know me from Eve, I hasten to say.)
Hope you don’t mind if I add this from the end of the same article:
“…Winston, though, got his stern face on and it was great. For weeks, he refused to go on a TV show that picked a fight with him. He had a go at Australia over the shoddy way they treat our citizens, then he doubled down on it by dissing their copy-cat flag.”