Dana got me thinking about this today.
I remember the gas wars of the early 70s, when I was a teen driver buying gas for the first time, for my huge, heavy, inherited 1957 Oldsmobile Super88 Rocket — just like this picture, same blue even, except not a convertible.
I doubt if it got even 10 miles to the gallon, but I could get a gallon for a quarter and a couple of pennies, so who was counting? My boyfriend’s family drove ugly little economical stick-shift cars not to save pennies — his dad was a medical doctor employed by academe — but because they were humbly connected to the community, defining themselves as environmentally responsible in those socially conscious “good times” that created the first Earth Day.
His parents could have driven anything, paid any price for gas to go anywhere they chose, because they were so much better off budget-wise than was my shabby-chic academic, politically conservative, school-is-your-economic-ticket-to-ride family story — literally driving My Father’s Oldsmobiles to school and the library and into the economically fickle future — and yet, my boyfriend’s family traveled more lightly through our community and upon the planet than mine.
Or so it seems to me looking back, with new stories on my mind.
But what made those years such good times to both my boyfriend and me, wasn’t the price of gas high or low — any more than the price of gas today makes these times seem like bad times, hard times (much less end times) to me. It was completely irrelevant to our happiness, as it is now.
And without criticizing the stories other folks have in their heads, I need to say that for me, if “now” DID seem like hard times, I sure can’t see how contracting into a little hardshell at home, each homeschooling family pulling into some self-contained, self-sufficiency survival mode script, would help the hard economic times get better. Much less be the change we want to see in the world!
This family’s homeschooling, for example, won’t be helped by mom tilling a garden, hoarding gold or not driving the family car to the library anymore. The economy isn’t so much about her family budget as her community’s thinking. Read the rest of this entry »