it’s Fall, the walnuts are falling on my roof, CLUNK, CLUNK!!–before the squirrels can chomp them off the limbs.they will gather them up, chew off the green cover(“CHEW,CHEW,CHEW! its very loud) and tuck them away, for winter, ready to make walnut soup, walnut sandwiches, stuffed fricasseed walnuts, broiled walnut, baked walnut pie, walnut cake, flambaed walnut, chicken-fried-steak-walnuts, and walnut meatloaf with acorn sauce. and you thought your meals were monotonous.and i love nuts!!http://
whether or not it was nuts,Wednesday morning, I had just gone to Eugene neighborhood, Valley Center shopping center, which was a very small strip mall; huge grocery store chain, little stores all chain, and lots of vacant empty buildings and showrooms. Not only that, they had taken the very permanent cheap chain shoe store out, without me knowing that had been there so many years, and put something else in suddenly. It looked like some kind of chain burger shop. Also, the ice cream chain shop was gone, and in its place was a small bar, saloon, with lottery tickets for sale. (I don’t know if it was a chain shop or not, if so, it was the only one that wasn’t.
I actually walked home, instead of taking a bus or cab.I was really regretting the walk, because the gasoline in the air from the huge highway that cuts through all the neighborhoods, was still pretty heavy, and it made the smog so much worse when you’re out there walking in it and breathing it. I’m not sure then if a walk is healthy or not, because you’re doing it high on gasoline fumes. Since I lived on that highway, like everyone else, I was waiting until I got lung cancer or breast cancer, eventually. Either that, or bullshit cancer, cause, after all, this is Eugene.
I was going to write in this blog after I got home, but I was so darned tired, and my heart muscle that was nonexistent, was giving me a rough time. It was telling me “you are an old female, you’re just as likely to have a heart attack as an old male.”(cough cough cough)
But they don’t talk about my heart, because all we worry about is men not being able to have erections, and old men having heart attacks.old women having heart attacks and not having orgasms is nonexistent. Just like female presidents and vice presidents are also invisible in the United States; doesn’t matter what age.they have female presidents on TV, but that’s as far as it goes, because as long as they have a beautiful actress on TV do it,it’s okay; but it’s not safe to do it in reality.
I thought about that, later on that day, as I got ready to go to the Wednesday evening ecology – environmental – awareness community meeting, further down the highway. It was a local meeting that regularly met, and I would see a lot of my friends there, as well as the local yuppies, hippies, extreme liberal Democrats, and all the other people who were hip and environmentally conscious in my neighborhood.people who raised chickens in their backyard, along with vegetable gardens, and did organic gardening. Also, people who were old; that was me. I’m not very hip.(cough)
it was about 5:30 PM, which meant that the smog level was still high, and we had to close the windows so that we could breathe enough to talk. One of the members took off his oxygen mask, and took off the oxygen tank he had strapped on, and sighed with relief. Obviously he walked here again. I think.(cough cough!)
We got around to old business, and then we started thinking about new business in the meeting. We had had a very successful year, combating environmental stress in the County and city, we had formed new committees on banning plastic bags in the whole state; it looked like it was going to pass. (Cough cough cough) HACK! –and that was a huge environmental success. We would be able to keep horrible, contaminating plastic bags out of our environment, and make it so much safer here in Oregon. (Cough cough hack!)
So the leader of the group, banged the gavel, and asked if there was any new business anyone wanted to enter. First off, everybody agreed that Eugene and Lane County had some of the safest environmental areas in the whole state, if not the United States. (Cough cough cough cough!) HACK HACK! – And we had some of the very best laws and rules, recycling, gardening, whistle bending (that was a new super progressive, ecology supporting practice that someone here had invented, and was very popular now) and that as a result, Eugene and this County were doing very well, and the environment was so clean, fresh, and wholesome and healthy here, we really had succeeded in our goals. (Cough cough – HACK – cough cough cough!) Everybody clapped wildly, and Yahooed, whistled,and stomped, as much as there lungs would let them.
So I decided to raise the next new issue, since we have cleaned up the city and the county, so much, that it was one of the most healthy places in the whole country; I raised my hand, and only coughed twice. “Okay,” said the chairman pointing at me. “I think maybe we should – bring up the subject –” I looked around timidly and a little apprehensively – “of –” and I had to not look at the guy who would taken off his oxygen mask and tank – “may be – air quality here in Eugene and this County?” “Well,” said the chairman, it is true that the biomass producer, is said to be giving out unwholesome air. And they are trying to do something about that.” Everybody nodded in unison.
“Well, it wasn’t exactly about the biomass company exhaust –” I interspersed, slowly. “Well, we are successfully railroading that horrible situation of the coal trucks trying to go through Eugene, and de-pureify the oxygen here. We think we’ve got that one taken care of; remember that really successful protest rally, where we had a coal bin replica, and we burned it in effigy? That was very successful! A lot of people turned out! And said they would never ever use coal or buy it, no matter what happened to our energy sources.”said another member, enthusiastically, one of our young members who still in their 20s.
“Yes,” enjoined older member, with white hair, and glasses, who still had to work five more years before she could retire (that would make her 80 years old) and was already getting very tired. “It’s true, nobody will ever try to send coal trucks through our town again! We’ve determinedly squashed Those nasty coal barons , and their evil impure product will never impUrify this town!!!NEVER!!””there was a lot of glad hooting and yells, joyfully around the room.
“Unless,” I thought to myself grimly, “all the oil gives out, and you still need to be warm at night in Oregon.” they also used to say that we would never have expensive gasoline, America would go on forever with money and goodies, and good times, and everybody would have as much healthcare as needed, and extra money and the government could never get bloated and fat. Yes, they used to say all of that.
Never say never. http://
when all the hooting happiness, and joy, and good environmental vibes, and tearful appreciation (cough cough cough cough!) Of our fantastic paradise here, quieted down, I once again tried to broach my subject. “I wasn’t talking about the coal trucks, or the biomass factory.” Everyone looked around in wonderment; what else could possibly be wrong? Everything else was pure as the driven snow, when it came to air and water, and the streets, and even the plants and trees here. “What are you talking about? “Said the chairman, in a flat tone. ” Is there something new we don’t know about that well?”
I tried to start diplomatically.”UH– we do have a lot of cars and vehicles and trucks and lots and lots of four wheeled things like that running around all over the County and city.” I hinted. Everyone looked at me quizzically. “YES?” There was no sign of enlightenment anywhere in the room. I was getting a little annoyed. “Have the new Prius, any problems in the electrical systems that contaminate the environment?” Somebody asked, with real puzzlement.
I decided to hint further.but I was running out of patience. “In California, in order to keep down smog, they make every single vehicle have a standard thingy put on their cars, to reduce the exhaust greatly that goes into the oxygen that we breathe.” Everybody was still looking blank faced. “We don’t do that here. And we have tons and tons and tons of highways, freeways, expressways, and CARS! CARS! TRUCKS! (Cough cough!) Also my bronchitis was starting to get to me again. Or maybe I was getting really angry.
Very irritated, I rasped “we have very bad SMOG here. Right in Eugene and this County, Lane, and no one ever talks about it! And most of the smog comes from all the vehicle exhaust!” There it was again the elephant in the room everybody refused to talk about in Eugene. “Doesn’t it ever bother anyone? I come into the meeting, and it takes about 10 min. for everybody to settle down their coughing, before anyone can even start to talk! What does that tell you? Do you notice that all the trees and all the bushes next to the highways, expressways, all turned white, get goo all over them, and started dying?and everybody’s trees and houses next to this highway, because they made into a highway, have all that white goo all over their houses and Windows, and shrubs?”
somebody slowly said, “this is probably because of that Maple disease that’s coming to town,” everybody was nodding,” and it is a big problem for the trees. But why would it affect us?” “It’s not Maple rott!” I said, grinding my teeth together. “It’s PEOPLE – rott! some of you have lived in Los Angeles before you invaded Oregon! They’ve got the same thing there only it’s right in their FACES, hanging off their GLASSES, NOSES, and dripping from their chins! Did anybody teach you, ever, about carbon monoxide?! You know, vehicles give off poisonous fumes, carbon monoxide? I don’t know the chemistry, FUCK IT, LUNG-ROTT!! BREAST-CANCER-ROTT!”
the very wealthy lady with the Mercedes Benz looked at me with slight malviolence; “my car is too expensive to have smog,” she calmly entoned. “It would never do that. I wouldn’t allow it to.”
“Mine either,” said the big guy, who drove the huge, massive, Army-vehicle, that cost so much and took so much gasoline,” those expensive cars don’t give off any smog, they’re too efficient.”
several people around who owned really luxurious cars, all nodded to each other, in their little club. “I have a Lexus, and it never gives off any exhaust. I make sure I clean it, wash it, and wax it every Saturday.” Someone snobbed at me.”and I have a Prius,” puzzlingly said a very young man, in a very nice Abercrombie and Fitch jacket.” I don’t think I’ve ever had any exhaust, the tailpipe – do they have tailpipes? the newest ones don’t use gas at all.”
In another minute, chorus girls and chorus guys would come dancing and hopping out, grins wide, declaring “OOOOOOOO–OH–ORY-GON, where the lumbers’ going overseas!!!and the sassy-pines, /with their plastic-spines/make the Chinese,- oh- so-VERY- PLEASED!”
I was out of patience; “all the experts say that auto and vehicle exhaust makes SMOG, and it’s very bad for you and will give you cancer and emphysema, and basically, be debilitating and KILL YOU! And yet nobody in this group ever talks about the low hanging smog that’s over Eugene and Lane County, dripping into the River, and killing all the fish! It’s not just killing the fish! It’s killing US!”
I decided one last fact that I really knew about. “I even saw the results of research out of UC medical center, on Parnassus, in San Francisco California! They had it right down to the molecule, auto exhaust in the air, collides with hormones in the female breast, and causes breast cancer! They cannot announce these medical findings for fear of getting sued by huge oil companies! but I saw the report myself.” I stood up and looked around at the blank faces. “And you can’t blame people with cheaper cars either, they all do it, and the trucks and motorcycles, everything that uses gasoline.even the Prius.”
“But what really bugs me is, we don’t talk about it. Nobody ever mentions it, but Lily’s one-year-old has pneumonia already. It’s not just the damp climate.” My eyes swept the group, desperately, as I realized it was never going to penetrate past the denial. “Maybe I should start driving a Ford,” said an older member, very quietly,” my wife made me get a Toyota, and she knew I hated Japanese already.” A couple of middle-aged, working-class couples shook their heads slowly. After all, everybody knew, the Japanese couldn’t even stop their own earthquakes. So why were they making cars?!Duh.
“you’re just blaming all the cars, because you never drive one,” sneered Olof, one of the old Norwegian family on Wilkes drive. “You just get around in that weird, souped-up, strange, thingamajig. It doesn’t even look safe.” “Yes,” returned his wife, “and when they make bicycle riders have licenses, next year, so they can tax them, they’re also going to tax those things similar to yours, that you drive.”
Anything that walked, rolled, hopped,limped, shuffled, crawled, or wiggled along the sidewalk or road, highway, freeway, or garage entrance, had to have a license in Eugene, so it could be taxed equally and fairly. I was waiting for my sneakers to get taxed. It would happen.”I’m leaving, I don’t see any point in coming here anymore, if you’re going to ignore the red paint all over your windshields!” I huffed, gathering my things, and heading for the door. As I went by the refreshments, I snatched a couple of very large cookies, and stuffed them in my coat pocket; why make this evening a total loss?
Outside, in the parking lot, which was crowded with Fords, Chevrolets, Prius, Lotus motorcycles, one very big BMW, a Lexus, a couple of nondescript grayish silver Toyotas, several older miscellaneous cars, and about two bicycles, I glared at my transportation.the very large, black, square shaped, electric, large wheeled rather old electric power chair glared back at me.
It definitely was equipped for the road; I had installed a large plastic windshield, an overhead plastic removable roof, bumpers,and even a horn.the motor, or engine, had been souped up by a really good local auto mechanic, and I probably had the fastest old electric wheels in town. I knew from that day I saw it, it was a really good investment, as far as very local transportation. It was electric, it ran off of house current, it was tremendously cheap, and in traffic, people were so shocked by the sight, they often ran off the road, and had an accident. HAW HAW!! true, I had to stay off freeways and major expressways, but that wasn’t important.(I hated driving on them anyhow.)
and very importantly, not only was it efficient and economical, it didn’t gas the atmosphere to death, and the town and county to SMOG. If Detroit was’nt going to do it, then I was. All around the United States, probably other very disenchanted motorists were thinking the same thing; get a really old, very large power chair, or golf cart, soup it up tremendously, maybe replace the engine, give it rubber guards and bumpers, windshield, roof,put on a shrieking horn to blow the traffic away, and you have the future of the vehicle.
No matter who has to do it, one at a time, in small or bigger groups,one type or another, (hydrogen cell, vacuum powered, etc. solar cell) the new,winged-anti-SMOG chariot will evolve, because the dying planet is running quickly out of OIL–hear that, you ass-hole-oil companies?? –You won’t be able to keep up the gas-engine forever,it’s RUNNING OUT!! go ahead, and make wars over it, kill each other off over it, and have World War III over it, it won’t matter. Eventually, it will all be GONE. No more combustion engine.
Power up your power chairs; soup up your golf carts; take your scooters and add extra wheels and extra speed and power.add a tiny motor to your bicycle. The future belongs to the electric, the solar, the hydrogen,etc., because if you don’t do that eventually, you’re going to have to WALK. And I don’t think you want to go back to riding horses; it’s incredibly bumpy, and too far to fall.