Amoeba’s Lorica: UntRaveling

Recently, Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba posted an update to the Zuckerberg Magic Digital Profit Generator:

Has the Amoeba mentioned here lately how distressing it is to move to an “island paradise” thousands of klicks from the nearest “civilization”, and still have to drive like he’s on Boston’s Southeast Expressway during rush hour?!?

He was asked how come he didn’t use a bicycle instead. To which, he responded that, for an Amoeba in his seventh decade, living (perforce) at one end of a great hot lava desert, and working at the other end, the distances to be traveled are now too great, and the conditions too chancy, for him to consider trying to get from A to B by either walking or cycling.

“So”, came the rejoinder, “you won’t ride a bike. You hate cars. How do you expect to get around?”

Wings. Whether bird wings or bat is yet to be determined. But the chiropteran version is the way to bet, given YFNA’s long and distressing docket of sins. Some might consider butterfly wings to be an acceptable alternative to feathers and a harp, but they’re not all they’re cracked up to be either.

Meanwhile, a couple of islands up and to the left of where YFNA now lives, where a dude can get out of his car while driving parked, with a thousand other peeps, on the [ahem] Interstate highway, leisurely walk up to the 55 MPH speed limit sign, paint a decimal point between the two fives (or maybe in front of the first one), and stroll back to his vehicle, to his spot on the road from which nobody around him has moved an inch – at midnight on a Monday – a vicious argument has been going on for a decade about the installation of an urban rail system, how much it costs, and how useful or useless it will be if and when it ever gets finished. With the obstruction mostly coming from a known paid proponent of the highway vehicles with which people, um, can’t get anywhere.

Yo. Honolulu peeps. There’s a crazy dude hanging out in a palace somewhere south of the Yalu River who can solve all your transportation problems for you real quick. You didn’t know that? Well, now maybe you’ve got something to worry about that’s worth the sweat.

A mere century ago, the automobile was just beginning to make an impact on the world. Two centuries ago, the first railroads were just getting started. Three centuries ago? You had horseshoes, if you were a 1%er. Or shoe leather. Took you awhile to get anywhere. But if you wished it badly enough, you could get there. With a minimal risk of getting into a high-speed collision, dying from blunt-object trauma or incineration or both, and learning what set of wings you’ve earned for your trouble.

And whole bunches of people didn’t wish it badly enough. Spent their whole lives in the village, they did. Happy they were, with cabbages and potatoes and the daily pint at the pub. And they weren’t demonstrably any dumber or more ignorant that today’s standard-issue Facebook trolls with the University of Google at their fingertips and a daily, hours-long, planet-burning ride in a slow- or not-moving car in their present and (for now) future.

People got by, not really all that long ago, with far less mobility than today’s “Don’t Tread On Me” citizen takes for granted. And, YFNA argues, we are well on our way to putting ourselves in the position of learning just how they did it. Or else.

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