In 2008, I recall voting favorably on a high-speed rail referendum which turned out to be the winning side. Wheee! Then, what with one California crisis and another, it hasn't got started yet. Maybe if I go back 4 or 5 years and reclaim some enthusiasm it will recharge the project. I have even taken a new picture of my 1924 copy of Practical Electrics magazine, which might be where the whole thing did or didn't get started to start with.
I have always hoped it would cure road rage, the anxiety, the madness.
researchers in psychology discovered anxiety is linked to pining, which
is composed of equal parts wanting and liking. Interesting as it is to
learn wanting and liking are linked to separate neurotransmitters, I
still wonder why anxiety is considered a neurotic response to modern
life. We've seen the operation of homeowners' associations, churches,
workplaces, local and federal governments often fall into the hands of
predators and two-bit tyrants. We hang on for
dear life or join street gangs. No wonder our nerves are shot. Nobody
sane is sane anymore.
When anxiety becomes our social
norm we respond as cornered beasts, clawing and biting our ways to some
imagined safety. Nowhere is this more keenly felt or easily observed
than on roads. Freeways and surface streets become stages for a special
sort of aggression. We find our homes, businesses, obligations and
recreational interests connected by a gridwork of war. It involves
mindless competition, tension, anger, intimidation and assault conducted
with cars, which police rightly classify as deadly weapons.
called in consultants, urban planners, traffic engineers, psychologists
and psychics, to analyze the problem. Their conclusion was unanimous:
bad vibes. As always, "bad vibes", as an analysis, failed to penetrate
the problem to any useful depth. Police resorted to a study of
Around 1840, poet Wm. Channing wrote to
Thoreau: "I see nothing for you on this earth but that field which I
once christened Briars; go out upon that, build yourself a hut, and
there begin the grand process of devouring yourself alive. I see no
alternative, no other hope for you." Afterwards, Thoreau planned and
conducted his effort to "front only the essential facts of life" , to go
into the woods and live deliberately.
enforcement used to be unclear on what Channing meant by "devouring"
one's self, but now see it as having to traverse combat zones that
separate all locations --peaceful enterprises divided by rolling
artillery. Clearly, one can digest and eliminate those qualities that
interfere with happiness, self-worth and a useful place in nature, but
the process hasn't progressed beyond individual adjustment. This is not
to say mechanized society is not devouring itself at large, but what
will remain after it feeds would probably not produce Walden.
Things seemed at an impasse.
fate and chance intervened. The word, surrealist, was coined by
Guillaume Apollinaire and first appeared in the preface to his play Les
Mamelles de Tirésias. In 1917 M. Apollinaire was walking home from the
premiere performance when he fell through a hole in his shoe into the
21st century. The opportunity was seized and police retained him as the
first consulting surrealist in traffic management.
recommendations were simple: "These cars, with their headlights
squinting like wicked little eyes, their grimacing grills, make them
angrier! But yes, the huge SUV with its predatory teeth and sedans
crouched to dive into underground dens --make them look more than evil.
Make them fanged, squat and mad enough to curl up and devour themselves.
No car can change the world by looking merely upset!"
our governor released news of M. Apollinaire's return to 1917. We were
told the poet had climbed back into his shoe after a series of brilliant
recommendations. Cars will get increasingly cannibalistic and
psychotic-looking until they are consumed and even the most
adrenaline-addicted, cash-strapped drivers give up in disgust to help lay track along
the California coast.
Personally, I'm still pining for a rolleycoaster. Wheeeee!