Welcome to Airstrip One

This is so brilliant that I felt like I needed to reproduce it in its entirety on my own weblog, but let me give credit where it is due- It is lifted verbatim from my favorite weblog, Scary Duck, winner of the Best British Weblog 2001, as decided by the readers of the Machester Guardian. Read this, then go read more.

“Welcome to Airstrip One”

George Orwell was surprisingly on the button. OK, so he was the best part of twenty years out, but his nightmare vision for society of 1984 is just about upon us. Government, if they really wanted to, can follow your every move through TV cameras, logging credit card purchases, tapping your mobile phone and filtering your e-mail.

Life is reduced to a uniform mediocrity of work, drive, TV with a compliant media to feed you what they want you to hear. In America in particular, where the major TV networks and newspaper owners give money to both the major parties, no-one dares ask questions. There is no new Bernstein and Woodward to question the motives and actions of those in power because if Watergate happened now, the story would be ruthlessly spiked. It took foreign media to expose Jeb Bush’s election-winning vote-rigging in Florida, and by then nobody cared, and if the story made the papers, it was on page 32, just next to the funnies.

But where Orwell really got it right was on Big Brother’s need for war. In 1984, The Party knew that Oceania had to be at war permanently, with either Eurasia or Eastasia to keep the proles’ minds off what is going on around them. Bush knows this, so does the Prime Minister of Airstrip One. The war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the war to finish what Daddy started, it’s been non-stop, while at home governments have been passing laws to restrict civil liberties under the banner of “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.” How long until we get the compulsory Two Minutes Hate and the “Big Brother is Watching You” posters? Are we all the victims of the most outrageous con-trick of all time? Funny how the bad guys always seem to get away…”

Country Life

First lesson of life lived in a cabin: Well pumps break. Especially when the temperature gets down around 5Ð. Then stuff freezes, and the well pump breaks. I was had a real Green Acres moment when my girlfriend got out of bed on an ice cold morning and said to me, “The toilet won’t flush.”

I spent the day today patching the PVC around the pump that had cracked in the cold. Went to a hardware store in the nearest town. I needed some PVC connectors. They were sold out. I asked when they would have some in and the guy said “The truck comes in on Monday. I can have him bring you some fittins then.” I was thinking “There are some turds that need to go away before Monday…” What I said was “You don’t have a pet pig, do you?”

Went to the hardware store in the next town over. I pulled in around 1:30 pm. There was a sign on the door, “Open until 5:30 every day,” then in smaller type, “Except Thursday. We close at 1:00pm Thursdays.”

Got lucky in the next town and found an Ace Hardware full of guys immune to the Friends Haircut Syndrome. Interesting thing about country folk- they still smoke cigarettes. If you’re an urban smoker feeling persecuted, move to the country. There are squadrons of guys with nicotine stained hats with cryptic numbers on them just puffing away.

Got back and wrestled the pump housing apart and started putting stuff back together. Spent about an hour working on it before I looked behind the pump, and found a pair of tiny dark eyes staring intently up at me. Apparently, in taking the well house apart, I disturbed a field mouse’s afternoon idle. He had been huddled in the back of the well house hoping that I wouldn’t snatch him up and dispatch him. When I finished fixing the pump, I pieced the well house back together and left him there. If he wants to live in the pump house, fine. If he tries to live in one of the cereal boxes in the cabin, then we are going to have to have a little talk.

Also living in the pump house was a pair of honest-to-god black widow spiders. Note to self: “Don’t reach into the pump house in the dark…”

we made it

Well, we made it out of the cold, treacherous city that we were living in. Our plan was to get out of there sometime the afternoon of December 31st, but we spent more time packing than we expected and ended up driving out of the city as the fireworks were bursting in the sky over Lake Michigan. As we pulled through the toll booths on the south side, we could hear the guys out firing their guns into the air to celebrate. (You know about this, right? It’s a little tradition where handguns are more common than cars that run well enough to drive to places where fireworks are legal and available to buy- at the stroke of midnight one pulls out one’s gat and fires it into the air.)(buck-buck like you just don’t care….)

We’re living in the middle of the country now, pictures here. We’re about five miles from the nearest gas pump, twenty miles from hot pizza, don’t know how far from a shopping center. We went for a hike on the land the first morning there and we found a ton of coyote sign. There are some guys that run horses and dogs on the land, and they told us that they have seen panther sign near the swamp. Pretty excited about that. Not so excited about the coyotes. But you gotta take the bitter with the sweet. The coyotes raise some serious hell at night. It’s something to hear. I may try to tape it and stream it from the site so everyone can hear it.

Anyway, we’re here for a while it feels pretty good to wake up see herons in the lake and hawks in the trees. I may have to change the name of the weblog….

-p