Monday, June 21, 2010

An Uneasy Truce With The Industrialists

I'm doing my best to keep my truce with the industrial powers going, but it's an uneasy truce to say the least.

I've been getting away from it all, taking it easy, traveling the countryside trying to put this whole matter out of my mind. That's great when I'm seeing rustic barns, idyllic fields, old wagon wheels, and goats standing around innocently. It's then I can really revel in the pre-industrial age, thinking back to a bygone era, a time gone by.

But being in unfamiliar places -- surroundings that are different from my normal place -- means everything I see is new, unusual, and fresh. So occasionally, despite my best efforts not to see anything industrial, there something will be! A factory, a big manufacturing complex of some sort, or a bunch of utility grids and frameworks. That's what happened yesterday.

I literally saw an old farmer on a buggy with two horses pulling him. I was thinking, That's so rare you don't even see it on Road Bingo games. But there it was. I quick got my phone out of my pocket, did all the button punching it takes to get the camera up and ready to go, when he crossed over the interstate and out of sight, so I didn't get a picture. But it was a two horsepower rig. If he would've only had one I would've gotten the shot! Still, it did my poor, bedraggled heart good to see another guy like me who eschews the modern ways. I do drive a car, of course, so this guy shamed me to a certain extent.

That guy passed out of sight and I kept going. I entered a large city and passed through without seeing anything rustic. Drat. Instead, I saw about a million cars, each one going faster than the last. By the time I hit the city limits on the way out, they had sped up quite a bit, on average. I had my foot on the gas too, trying to keep up, cursing my luck.

Then I went on a back road, yet still a double highway, so it was relatively a back road, and slowed down to enter a different mid-size town, when what do I see over to my right? A big old industrial section that was completely new to me. But because of my truce -- and this is what makes it uneasy -- I only looked about half the time. The other half I watched the road ahead of me, hoping to see something rustic to balance it out.

In the time I was glancing over at this industrial section, I was memorizing the facets of it, including a bunch of rusty stairways, ladders, and external crawl spaces. I saw more stainless steel pipes and spigots than any industrial section could reasonably be using. Who turns them on and off? I felt some restlessness in my stomach as I imagined a careless worker failing to turn off the right spigot. There he'd be, eating a vending machine sandwich in the factory dining hall while oil and crap would be draining all down the side of the pipe, leaking into the water system.

I looked a little bit, not going for my camera because of my truce, but making a mental note of where all this stuff was in case my truce ever comes to an end. In that event, and barring any prevention of me by the industrial powers, I will definitely be out there nosing around, looking for evidence.

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