Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Graduation, Paris, and the Price of Gas

My son graduates on Friday from high school. Yippie, now I can reinvent myself. Watch me transform from super mom to super woman; or maybe I'll just chill and do nothing. Paris is on the horizon; I am looking forward to three days of intense discussion about Richard Wright. The price of gas, the price of gas. And to think that I gave my bicycle away to the Salvation Army; I just might have to co-op my son's bike and get on it for short errands around the neighborhood.

Listened to some authorities on oil prices on public television last night. According to these authorities, high oil prices are about high demand (the Chinese and Indians, oh no, not the Americans), limited production, and antiquated technologies in the refineries. My friends tell me at least we aren't paying the prices that some Europeans are paying. This, of course, is no consolation to me and millions of other Americans who remain in this country specifically because we don't want to pay the high cost of goods, services, and housing that Europeans pay. While I'm not comparing the cost of living between Europe and the United States, as a friend of mine so aptly reminds me: the U.S. is the best thing going on. "For now," I always add to his quip before his lips seal.

But from a more cynical perspective, my mother warned me as a child of the high cost of living that would eliminate the middle class in this country. She had a way of studying the data and trends, and making the prediction. Just like she told me as a child that she better not ever catch me in the World Trade Center towers; her words were, "they are going to take them out" as I sat on my cousin's balcony in Brooklyn watching the towers sway in the overcast day and yearning to take the elevator to the top. So while my cousin begged my mother to let us catch the train and go to the top of the towers, she refused. And I honored my mother's warning and never set foot on the grounds of the World Trade Center.

Perhaps this empire is truly near its demise. Its hegemony is beginning to wane, and some economist are worried about what it means to further enrich those rogue states that produce oil and how this economic enrichment will jeopardize our democracy. Well, we can start walking, design more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly cities and neighborhoods, improve public transportation with intercity trains, manufacture more hybrids, and I can list a host of other accommodations that we could make to lower our dependency on oil. It is about a lifestyle change. Are we willing to make one? Or, are we so addicted to oil that we will continue to demand more than our fair share, and if we do not get it, we will obliterate an entire state to satisfy our craving?

Okay, enough for the politics; just food for thought as I prepare for a weekend of walking, walking, and using more public transportation.

1 comment:

E. said...

I have been driving as a supplement to my income and that has cut down on all kinds of costs for me.

I have come to enjoy public transportation. And really, since a child, I always have.

These days...its quiet! Kids have their cellphones and MP3's and adults still have their smug faces and books.

I miss my bike. But every last one I've ever had has been stolen at some point here in Ann Arbor.


Although American cities are like prisons right now...

The Empire will Stike Back.

Why? Because of the volume of educated people here and because...

in reality

The U.S. is a regional base for a much larger structure....

apparently the real reason why our economy is in the tank.

Because of the global government's super state formation.


I just want to move around freely and see the world while I'm here on Earth.