Here’s a short one that I wrote when flying from Chicago to Minneapolis to visit Don & Leone. I had no idea that I had this saved in my drafts until I was looking at posts and noticed it there. Below is the unabridged, unedited version – enjoy.
As I look down at ChicagoLand from 30,000 feet, I marvel at what man hath wrought. The towering highrises of downtown. Chicago and Midway airports, each with their maze of runways and taxiways. Miles and miles of perfectly gridded subdivisions. “Nature Areas” which are just a chunk of undeveloped land smack dab in the middle of that grid. Massive chunks of superslab connecting those perfectly gridded subdivisions with those towering skyscrapers.
At 535 nautical miles per hour, civilization moves past quickly. Those perfectly gridded subdivisions slowly scatter and become acres and acres of perfectly gridded farmland. The single block grids have given way to single mile grids. The land of Lexuses has given way to the land of John Deeres. Brazilian steakhouses slowly give way to Outback Steakhouses, then to steaks in 800 pound live chunks grazing in those mile gridded farms.
It’s easy to tell where the sprawl concentrated around bodies of water with their transportation options when the Industrial Age kicked into full gear. But now that the Industrial Age has given way to the Digital Age, where are we drawn? With telecommuting an option in many major corporations, people are no longer constrained to living in a perfectly gridded subdivision and spending hours in their daily commute to those towering skyscrapers.
The morning traffic jam for many young professionals now consists of two cats laying in the middle of the hallway blocking the path from the kitchen to the home office.
I really don’t know where this is headed, other than contemplating the part that I play in that Digital Age, with my mobile lifestyle varying from the beaches to the mountains to those towering skyscrapers. But the 30,000 foot view is a real eye-opener once the glamour of traveling 50 weeks a year passes, and the thought of the possibility of complete mobility really sinks in.
Pick a spot on the map and go. Winter off the Gulf Coast of Florida? Summer in Boulder? Winter in the Bahamas? Summer in Maine? Winter in San Diego? Summer in Montana?
Some people just don’t get it. The thought of having no roots, no permanent residence, no “stuff” just seems completely crazy to them since society dictates that we will have 2.3 kids, a little dog, and a house with a white picket fence. How will you enjoy “Life” on the Discovery channel without a 52” HD TV? I choose to experience that Life with my own two eyes in the places that they film it, rather than on my couch with my 2.3 kids.
Maybe it’s me that just doesn’t get it. The thought of a 9 to 5 seeing the same people for an entire career seems completely insane to me. I’m sure your grandchildren are simply darling, but do I really need to hear about Little Suzy until you’re kind enough to retire?
Living in the same subdivision while you pay off your 30 year mortgage? Seeing the same 20 square miles of Planet Earth for the rest of my life simply doesn’t make any sense to me. Minnesota’s brutal winters? Tampa’s brutal summers? Why?
Sure you make it out on your yearly cruise where someone tells you what meals you will have and how long you can stay in each tourist port. If you’re fine with someone telling you how to run your life AND your vacation, more power to you.
Call me Gypsy. Hobo. Transient. Vagabond. Homeless. Wanderer.
Pick a spot on the map. Go.