A place where one woman has gathered resources and information to help her family survive in an uncertain future; together with occasional personal musings.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I'm going to treat this diary as a planning tool, and also as a way to try and explain and record the world I live in now. Yesterday I was listing the things that we still take for granted, which I doubt very much we will still be taking for granted in a couple of decades. Besides clean water, health care, and electricity, which I wrote about yesterday, here are a few more things we all still can count on:

- The grocery store has at least fifty different kinds of fruits and vegetables, whether in season or out, doesn't matter. Strawberries in December? Yep. Might not be very good, but there they are. I remember reading that the average grocery store carries 40,000 products, from produce to the twenty brands of laundry soap and the fifty kinds of breakfast cereal. And of course there are the very poor, but generally speaking, food is cheap for most of us. We can mostly afford to buy many, many more calories than we need on a daily basis. And we mostly do, too. 

- There will be gasoline in the gas station down the street. No shortages yet, and it's still cheap, too, at least compared to nearly everywhere else on Earth. Today, a gallon of regular costs $2.59, I think. I buy diesel, which is about the same. I can still drive across the country for only a couple of hundred bucks. Our house is heated with propane (gotta get on that) and while I can't call it cheap, it isn't unaffordable. 

- Air travel. Everybody flies. The price of air travel fluctuates, but your basic middle class family will fly somewhere once a year. We flew to Arizona to visit my dad last month. I've been reading that airplane manufacturers are beginning to make new planes with a much larger proportion of composite materials (synthetic polymers?) and less metal, as they plan that the price of fuel is permanently rising. At least one of these new planes, the Boeing 787, has failed several stress tests relating to these new materials. There was a terrible crash recently; a flight from Venezuela to France simply broke up over the Atlantic in the midst of a storm. Airplanes aren't supposed to do that. I don't think an official explanation is out yet, but the fact is that it WAS a new generation plane with more composite. 

- The rule of law. Maybe I'm showing my white, middle class status here, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Americans trust the law. In the sense that we believe there IS law. We have a functioning justice system, with all of it's branches - police, judicial, prison - intact and more or less working according to the theory. I'm not trying to minimize the very serious problems of racial and class injustice, of for-profit prisons, of unequal access to protection, among others. There certainly are major problems. But still, I believe the majority of Americans feel safer because we live under the rule of law. Most of them, of course, have never been to a place where there IS no law. I have, and it's scary. I'll take our imperfect system over no system at all, thanks. 

Oh I'm sure there are lots more things I take for granted that I take SO for granted that I can't even think of them now. How about regular seasons? Do y'all still have those? 

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