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Distributed Mental Health Break
The news is remarkably grim, even if it’s possible to be mildly amused by some of it:
So I’m taking a break from the news today, and trying to share the break. I’ve written a few times about how important it is to me to put the tent in the car and get the hell out, and about growing up the same way. July is usually our biggest month as a family for escaping the cultural prison that Los Angeles has become, and we had big plans this year to get back to South Dakota and keep going to points beyond…
.…but if you were keeping score at home, you might have noticed that I spent July talking about hospitals. (I was not the patient, he hastens to mention.) So no camping or traveling occurred, in our accustomed Big Camping Month, and here I sit, quietly climbing the walls. Ask me what I think of Los Angeles right now — GO AHEAD, ASK. My daughter keeps asking me why I haven’t taken the tent out of the car since that quick June trip to Colorado, and I can’t quite put the psychological realities of that choice into words, but the tent stays right where it is. Ask me again after Labor Day. Or maybe in January.
One of the biggest you’ll-own-nothing-and-like-it maneuvers currently underway is the ideological assault on cars, especially cars that don’t run on windmills and unicorns — and especially cars with internal combustion engines that, here comes the WEF again, are owned by the peasantry:
You can take ze bus vile you eat ze bugs!
(By the way, hilarious fact check from Reuters on that one.)
With apologies to Edward Abbey, nothing has ever seemed half as liberating to me as a car, by which I do not mean an electric car. I suppose electric cars are fine for daily chores around a city, not that I’ve ever tried it, but they’re pretty obviously hell on wheels for the open road. I wrote in one of those posts linked above about driving for hours into Death Valley National Park, on dirt roads, to end up in a remote part of the park, soaking in natural hot springs while fighter planes blasted by more or less overhead, hugging the terrain. There are no charging stations out there. There’s no electric infrastructure to connect a charging station to. There’s dirt. But you can go there, and drive back out, and spend three minutes adding another 400 miles in range to your car. Nothing else feels like that. It’s freedom, on a big continent with lots of space, and I find it telling that there are people who don’t like the spectacle of all those families taking road trips.
When I can’t do the thing itself, I draw maps and think about doing it, like a 15 year-old boy who really likes to watch a lot of track and field videos. Here’s mine — the trip I’d take if I could get in the car right this minute and not worry about coming back quickly:
I’m gonna stare at this map for a few minutes, and think about adding a Montana / Idaho / Washington leg. Describe yours below, if you have one, or link to your version of it, and I’ll stare at that one too.
More news tomorrow.