Concrete Jungle

2012

This is a nice little page to remind myself of the things I will and won’t miss about the Concrete Jungle.

Things I will not miss from the Concrete Jungle:

  • Gigantic buildings full of little $600,000+ boxes that people live in and never get to know their neighbor
  • Parking Lots and the Sea of Cars that comes with them
  • Take out food that comes with a ton of packaging just so someone can carry food home, goody
  • A tree surrounded by concrete
  • A “Park” almost as small as my apartment
  • People in business suits walking around in the masses
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Car Alarms that go off in the middle of the night and wake you up
  • Traffic, Driving, Commuting, etc
Things I will miss about the Concrete Jungle:
  • Riding the Roller Coasters at Six Flags
  • Really Good Ice Cream, like Cold Stone, Bruster’s, and Maggie Moo’s
  • Todai and really yummy sushi

After leaving the apartment for the first time in several days in March and walking to the bank, I was inspired by the world around me.

The Story of the Concrete Jungle

Children of the future, learn well from the legends of a land, the Land of the Concrete Jungle. To us this is an alien world but it is the way of humans outside Rabbit Land. In this world the dirt barely feels the rain as the ground is covered in thick layers of concrete. Pollution and street lights block out the stars, the night sky is a black expanse void of a visible twinkling Milky Way. The buildings are high and mighty, taller than 20 men, and made of brick and a hardened paste of pulverized stone, concrete. Concrete stretches for miles with the occasional hint of earthen grass, concrete paves the land for the thousands of cars, metal cars, that all the people drive. Cars that use a fuel which took thousands of years for the earth to make, fossil fuels, the cars drink it down like humans drink water. Well, cars don’t actually drink, people fill them up at the gas stations. My feet never feel the earth as I walk, always in shoes, upon the paven streets.

Concrete and metal, cold and hard, as far as the eye can see and as hard as the land and the people that live inside it.  At least for those people, warmth still resides in their hearts and minds for most of them, they just have a very different way of life. Some of them don’t have homes and they sit on the street in rags and stench and beg passerbys on the street for money. Strangers don’t say hello to each other as they pass on the street, and in this land almost everyone is a stranger outside of the family or empty dwelling you call your home. For in this land, surrounded by millions of people, you could live alone. I think it was about a year after moving from one Concrete Jungle city to another that my partner had any friends at all in the city where he lived, friends through work, meditation classes, and a series of failed online dating attempts. But for the most part it was a life alone. However, alone does not mean lonely. The choice to feel lonely or feel loved and happy is up to all of us as human beings even when we are sitting alone in our room.

In the Land of the Concrete Jungle, every one works for about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, typically from 9am to 5pm. They usually stay in one building or area for those 8 hours, they’ll have a break for lunch in the middle of the day. Usually they have used their car or some form of public transportation to transport themselves from work to home and back again, this transportation time could take 20 minutes or it could take 2 hours, especially if they have to drive in the traffic of other cars. Concrete Jungle humans usually do not think about the practicality of their distance from home to work. These humans particularly look forward to the day of Friday as it it is the day before the Weekend, the two days they don’t go to work. They need to go to work in this way to make enough money to pay for their lifestyle in their land.

And as for food, Concrete Jungle humans never really pick their food from a garden, some of them have gardens but most of them don’t, some of them don’t even know how to keep a plant alive. They go to the grocery store or a restaurant every time they want food. The grocery store is a huge building filled with shelves of food, food that comes in packages of paper and plastic boxes and containers. Most of it is packed full of synthesized ingredients and high fructose corn syrup to make the food cheaper to produce, taste better after processing, and last longer on the shelves. I’d imagine that most people cook, especially if they have a family, but any Concrete Jungle human might get away with never cooking for themselves as long as they have the money to pay for food that is made for them from the store but this food might not be as good for our bodies as it is in Rabbit Land.

These Concrete Jungle humans also flush their waste along with gallons and gallons of water into a large waste system called a sewer. I don’t really understand what happens to it after it gets flushed down the toilet, but I know it never gets used to make yummy compost and renew the nutrients in the soil that is so greatly needed to grow our healthy plants and trees. Concrete Jungle humans usually have no awareness of water conservation. Water, the life blood of the planet, all to often taken for granted in Concrete Jungle Land as it spews from all faucets, all the time, every day, in a clean and drinkable condition, with no appreciation for how it got there.

Well my time on this story is coming to an end just as my life in the Concrete Jungle. Perhaps I’ll add more sections later when inspired by this strange world I used to call my home at a time when I knew no other way to live and be.

6/2013

It is a couple days before I board a train for the two day ride back to Missouri from Seattle. The most usual thought on my mind is what do I want to eat before I go home. The answer is usually sushi and ice cream. Things I like but whatever I could eat at home is pale in comparison. Sure Kody’s ice cream is tasty and made with love, but it doesn’t compare to ice cream in the city from the build your own ice cream type places in Seattle, and as for sushi, maybe there is one place an hour away from DR. I also know that I will be on my own for eating when I get home. Sunfower Co-op has been disbanded and no one is really eating in the Parsnip group anymore. The change in season usually brings about changes in eating arrangments too, but it is a little bit sad that there is no co-op for me to go home to eat with in the common house this time, unless I join a different co-op in another kitchen. I always have to face the fact that whenever I go home again, things will be very different from when I left, even if it has only been a couple months.

While I was out today I saw a bumble bee drinking spilled soada from the side walk and I saw a pest control truck with a praying mantis on the side, which really aren’t pests at all. These are things that remind me why I love DR, even though while I am away I still have the waffling thoughts and feelings about my life and how it relates to living at DR. It is like the syndrome I described earlier, when I am not at home I wonder what I am doing with my life and feel I maybe should be doing something else, but when I am at home I want to live at DR all the time forever. At least I know myself and I know this is how it is, but which side will pan out in the long run is hard to say.

I got a broken toe on my adventures out when a table fell on my foot and I’ll be getting a vaccine tomorrow, so I’m coming home with a sore arm and a hurt toe. I also decided not to get a house built this year and I am attempting to find more stable employment for the winter or the next season and perhaps only work on a ship during busy holiday weeks if at all. On a cruise ship my friends, co-workers, supervisors, and working environment changes every few weeks to few months, and I’m not saving any money with my transient lifestyle making only 5k per year. It’s not a great situation if I want to build a 10k house. I want to be saving money and I wasn’t able to do that last year. I’m actually not sure what the coming year is going to bring for my life, a new job or attempt to stay at DR and build a more stable foundation for my life there before my money runs out.

I’ve been looking into camp jobs that hire for fall to spring to teach nature classes to field tripping school groups. These jobs, like a cruise ship, maybe only pay 2-3 hundred a week, but they take care of your room and board and food and probably internet and fun, etc even if you work your butt off. It makes me wish DR was like that. I want to work my butt off for the village for 40 to 80 hours per week as long as I have my bills taken care of for me and I make $800 to $1000 per month teaching people about the environment and doing whatever it takes to run and grow the village. When I can get a job like that at a camp anywhere in the country it starts to make DR look like a very nice, but expensive vacation for half the year because what is a vacation but a place you spend money to get to and while you’re there you do whatever you like whether it is work your butt off or relax and enjoy and you pay a few thousand dollars to stay there. I might make some money but chances are that it won’t be more than a few hundred per month, unless I take lots of little jobs I might not necessarily like but I do it because I need the money, not the kind of jobs I want to have. One needs to make money in this world, but I want to do it because I am doing something I love to do.

For now the 6 month “vacation” to DR and the money making elsewhere is something that I do because I love what I am doing, and that will have to be the way it is for now.

12/2015

I recently made a stunning realization when asked by a Rabbit, “So do you plan to come home next year?” Originally I had of course, but after reading this month’s blog post I am sure any eco conscious human may be able to deduce why the decision is now a very confusing one for me to make. Since I moved away from Seattle in 2010 my eco ideal lifestyle seemed like a fantasy, perhaps 20-50 years in the future. Now, just 4 short years after living in this city and coming back to my hometown for an extended period of time, I can see that my eco ideals from home in Rabbit Land have percolated into the mainstream like the best infection ever. The mainstream is catching up to our eco ideals at lightening speed and includes technology and resources we don’t have at home. Seattle is now considered one of the most eco friendly cities in the nation.

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