Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Hardest Part

Back Yard Marbles - Lytro Light Field Camera

Sitting with my wife on a Saturday night at the Bisbee Coffee company in old downtown Bisbee. It is a cool December evening with the street lite with colored lights, as if a scene right out of "Its A Wonderful Life". Coffee never tasted so good. Turmoil swirls all around us, but right here and right now, life seems good.

I am dealing with a lack of focus without the frustration that came with my past life working for the state. I used the blogging arena to focus my frustration and used it as an outlet to deal with that frustration.

That part of my life is now over, but there is frustration of a different sort that I now have to deal with. Not the organized and institutionalized incompetency of the public sector, but the incompetency of the general public and culture. It is not as overwhelming as was the state, but it exists never the less.

Where Ever I Go - The resistance to change...

In the rural world that we live in now, there are two types. Those who have escaped from the perils of the big city and those that have never left the small town. The latter have some issues. They don't see or understand the change that is taking place in the rest of the world. They don't really understand the Internet, they don't watch cable news and in general, they just want to be left alone. These people don't usually have a lot of ambition, which is a dual edged sword. If society does have something better to offer in the form of a better quality of life, they don't tend to embrace it. Case in point. Paper Checks. Since I have moved down here, the number of times that I have waited behind someone at a check- out line that is writing a check is astounding. They will not embrace the concept of a debit card, regardless of how much more convenient and simple it is. Now mind you, they may be paranoid about big brother tracking every purchase they make. But really, do you really think the feds want to know where you buy your kerosene and 6-packs?

The addiction to media and our loss of self....

I have often railed against the media culture that has grown like a cancer in our society since the late 1950s. Madison Ave melded the idea of Propaganda and Consumer Capitalism into a twisted economic engine that makes us long to go into debt to acquire things that we don't need nor should be have has become worse and worse. This is born out in vivid detail when moving to a small town such as this. With the exception of owning a really nice Harley-Davidson motorcycle, folks down here are not very materialistic. They don't like franchises, and newer is definitely not better. It isn't a game where you strive to collect the most toys, it is an experience where you seek to understand others and the world you live in. Owning a McMansion in the burbs and commuting 2 hours each day to work is considered insane here. The fact that it isn't considered insane in Phoenix, Arizona is even more amazing.

The slow creep to acceptance of the norm, and the assumption of entitlement.....

My final observation here is the concept of acceptance and comfort with the norms that we live in. When we lived in Phoenix, crime and corruption were a given thing. You expect to be burglarized once or twice a year. You expect to see several roll-over accidents / car chases every month on the local news. Officer involved shooting and rapes are just background noise on the television. We accept them. Moving to the smaller town, this isn't the case. EVERYONE knows what everyone else is doing. Not in the sense that they spy on each other. In the sense, that there are fewer of us down here and their isn't as much anonymity and there is more law enforcement per capita. In the past 12 months our home in Phoenix has been robbed three times. We don't even lock our doors where we live now. There is still crime her. But it is a rarity as opposed to a common occurrence. In Phoenix, the police indicate that you should be greatful that you weren't injured when someone broke into your house while sleeping...that it was a GOOD thing. The concept of preventing the crime or catching the perpetrator isn't even on the radar anymore.

So there has been a shift in my frustration and anxiety of late. While living in the big city and working for the corrupt government has slowly faded into the past, there is now the problem of dealing with them from a distance. Like any addiction, it is not easy to free yourself of the trappings that you have become accustomed to, even though they are bad for you. If you have eaten nothing but Big Macs from McDonald's your whole life, it is hard to go vegetarian and organic.

Trying to divest ourselves of all the trappings of the media / anxiety society takes time, and they sure don't make it easy for you. Few corporations want to lose a cash cow. So we are still struggling to sell our house in Phoenix, and pay off all the debt that we incurred so that we could live in the big city. We are selling or giving away all those things that aren't necessary to live a healthy life....and this all take time and effort. Like withdrawn from a drug, it isn't easy or painless. Hopefully, it will all be over in the next couple of months and then we can finally start working on the rest of the items in the bucket list, unencumbered by the distractions and falsehoods of modern society.

But as I have said before, the waiting is the hardest part. Waiting on other (less competent) individuals to get their jobs done before we can move on.