Last night I got in a accident with a moving vehicle. Usually, I run into stopped, inanimate objects like trees, posts, ditches, parked semitrailers, etc but last night I tried to make a left turn onto a 45 MPH lane at rush hour at twilight. I fucking miscalculated. There was a tiny pickup racing towards me. As I looked both ways and back and pulled out I realized the truck was moving faster than my eyes detected and the damned thing was going to hit me. It was like two bright headlights that were bigger and farther apart then they were supposed to be. As I realized the impending doom I actually released the accelerator fearing that if I didn’t make the turn left, got stalled, I could also be hit by cars coming from the right. This meant the truck hit me squarely broadside from the driver side door to the front of the truck.
Boom. No screeching tires, swerving back ass, honking horn. Just a crunch into the door. The door flexed in, hit my ribs, and flexed back out. My glasses went flying and my neck whipped sideways and back and that was it. All silence. Except my motor was running and I hadn’t moved. Yep, the big Yukon was hit full-on broadside and hadn’t moved sideways that I could tell. It must have but not noticeably. Automatically, I thought to get off the road. I somehow thought the traffic would continue if only I got out of the way. It was dangerous for me to be there. So I turned right hard and drove onto the shoulder.
My first thought was Skye, my daughter, OK. My next thought was is the other guy OK. I couldn’t open my door though and after asking Skye repeatedly and in different ways if she were OK crawled over and out. The other driver seemed OK but trapped in the driver seat with a bunch of crap on the other side so he couldn’t get out.
It’s hard to imagine what being hit broadside at 45-55 is like. After experiencing it I wouldn’t dare think another could get it. I certainly never would. If I had been in the mini-van we’d be in the hospital. The Yukon is a huge SUV. It is the best car I have ever owned for living on a farm and working construction. It has no place in an energy conservative society but its solidity, 4-wheel drive, and work horse capacity revealed by its original 30 K price (I bought it used for much less) made it my all-time favorite vehicle. Yep, above the Volvo, the Subaru, the Mustang (with its famous 289 motor), the GMC truck (with its abusive 396 motor with Quadrajet carburetor), the Dodge van (with its slant-six motor) in which I lived for awhile–and even my Triumph Bonneville motorcycle which rests in the barn until I actually have a late-life crisis.
When I chose to farm with horses, which I since abandoned, my in-laws thought it odd that I would have diesel tractors and draft horses. I was called a neoluddite as if I wanted to be Amish or Mennonite or who knows what, pining for preindustrial-revolution society. What they all missed was that technology from the past interested me in my extension of love of science and the technology that often accompanies it. Technology creates culture. You cannot study and know culture without studying its materialism. Most people are so busy fighting or loving their technology they do not see how it molds their life and their future. For me understanding the past includes a familiarity with the material culture of before. How can you understand clothing until you have used a sewing machine or learned stitches by hand and then also met those who are competent at both and do it 10 times faster after years of practice? More so, woven a blanket on a loom or cut the fleece and made the yarn.
The development of eyeglasses actually changed our genetics to create more myopia. Michael Skinner shows that some chemicals we use cause methylation and generational transitions in ways alternative to epigenetics such that a child of a child of a child can harbor the diseases that should not have been inherited.
In learning flintknapping I saw how glass knives were in some ways superior to steel and also why NA’s would go for steel knives once their culture had been displaced. Making brain-tanned leather, reed houses, and fire from sticks I saw how culture revolved around social technology. Building a house in a weekend as a party versus hiring a stranger crew whose expertise was distant yet where commerce bridges isolation… The conversion of tribes to city-states from family to strangers we call friend. The dream-world of spirituality revolved around the limits of knowledge and technology and not the other way around. The dream world might glean insight into how to change the material world or just help us endure it, or sadly to abuse others by imbuing impossible privilege.
The Yukon allowed me to live more large with independence. To transport horses, pigs, thousands of plants, farm equipment, books (yes I have that many), family, as well as haul firewood, hay, and so many things only someone who lives a rural or country lifestyle can get. And in all weather. The Yukon converted labor to machine and allowed my labor to better compete with others because I no longer had to hire as much help. It gave me more autonomy, more freedom, and more profit margin. The cost of the truck was less than the human labor to do the equivalent. Yet, where is society? I replaced people with metal. In a time of pandemic alienation and virtual villages that don’t really satisfy I have to wonder.
Today I read climate change may be more dramatic, more compressed. Yet, for a few, it is all just a guess. When Hurricane Charlie hit our island house we rebuilt. When the bank took it back we left the island. The hurricane Charlie storm surge was to be up to 12 ft, as it was in the Philippines. It was much lower but just by circumstance or our island would be an oyster mound again–back to before it was a sea world factory used by the Colusa to feed interior populations through an extensive canal system with canoes that transported fresh seafood a hundred miles without spoilage, without what we consider refrigeration.
Prediction is the Gulf will go all the way to close to Orlando by 2100. Now maybe sooner. Religion often takes us away from investigation. It’s a kind of tolerance of status quo. Putting up with what is. Yet some religion is more aggressive, seeking conversion and using all technology as a means while castigating the freethinking that enables the innovation. Islamic women renown their veils by creating a fashion trend. The slave owns the master or so it seems.
Karen Armstrong idiotically talks recently that what is common to all religions is compassion. What she should be writing is what’s common to all compassionate religions is compassion. There are many religions and uses of religion that have not been for compassion. She pisses on the undeniable utility of religion for conquest and power. She would castrate and make effeminate religion when it is far more rich and fulfilling. Let women have their power and let religion have its evil, their supposed contradictions–at least be real. Religion is another technology. A knife can be used to cut meat for supper or cut meat for death.
Depaak Chopra writes recently that god is the reality we don’t see because we can’t comprehend full reality. What then? How in hell would he have even a clue if it isn’t comprehensible in some way? Calling god the unknown or unknowable is to bury god in full-on mysticism over which there can be no conversation.
For me I miss my Yukon. It wasn’t just a tool. It created my reality and changed my genetics. To pretend otherwise is to not live in the world.