Sunday, December 19, 2021

I remember when if you went for a drive, you might not arrive...

I just had my twelve zillionth contentious chat with a furiously woke young person clutching a $1100 cell phone and bitching about "rich people" and how awful life is, generally.

This time I thought I came up with an especially good tirade (not that it helped, of course):
I remember when if you went for a drive, you might not arrive. More than likely, your car would stall, or overheat. And even if it held up, you'd almost surely get lost, fishing fruitlessly for maps from your glovebox. You might even die - e.g. getting hit by a drunk driver (who was drunk driving because drunk driving's something we all do, amiright, hahaha?). A nice bracing mugging was always possible, and those don't always end well. Also, some ordinary person might slug you in the face because he thought you got a little mouthy with him (only pussies pressed charges; real men defended themselves). Oh, and with no magical cardiac stents to miraculously insert through an incision in your wrist, a heart attack meant you're gone. So please take it nice and easy; don't wanna stress that ticker which could blow up like a bomb any second.

And that was in the 1960s/1970s, after we'd already enjoyed massive upgrades. A few centuries earlier, the notion of going somewhere would have been unimaginable. What are you, some sort of aristocrat who goes places? Are you a baron or earl? Where the fuck would you even go? And you're just gonna take the afternoon off down at the rock pit or saw mill or hog farm, clean yourself up, put on your church clothes, and take a merry trip in your, well on foot or atop some rheumy old horse borrowed from your slightly more upscale neighbor (not that you could afford the oats to fuel the poor beast)?

Back up a few more centuries, and good luck persuading the local land baron or war lord to even approve your trip (in the highly unlikely event you figured out how to take the day off AND borrow the broken horse AND pay for the oats to feed it). Wait, I know! Maybe you could bribe him with an extra bedding with your wife this month! Honey? Can you come over here for a minute? I need you to help me go somewhere!

I have a friend in southern Mexico, who lives in a village. It's a relatively prosperous one, and he's among the more well-heeled residents, with a large-ish hacienda and many modern conveniences. He's not walking around like the Frito Bandito, wrapped in a blanket, he's a modern dude well aware of pop-culture, tech, etc. He watches Rick & Morty.

I once asked if he might ever come visit New York, and the look he gave me burned into my retinas so hard that whenever I close my eyes, that's all I see: his eyes compressing to pained slits, lip curled in disbelieving contempt while his mouth fruitlessly struggled to form words that might somehow explain to this incomparably stupid gringo that, no, I won't be getting on a plane and jetting my way to The Big Apple for a whirlwind vacation in this lifetime.

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