Why Potholes are Stylish

I travel a LOT.

Although I’ve traveled to many places around the world, (London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, Seattle, New York, Washington DC, etc) most of my traveling doesn’t range to anywhere very glamorous. Nowadays, other than the odd writing conference, I spend most of my hours on the road zipping between home and my aging parents house or my college son’s apartment or escorting my daughter to some function or other across the state.

I love to drive. LOVE to drive. Love love love to drive. Did I mention I love to drive? I really love to drive.

But … I hate the interstates. I can’t stand traffic. I am insanely NOT patient with slow or rude or demon drivers, my theory being: if you’re going to drive slow, get in the slow lane – if you needed to be there yesterday, you should have flown – blinkers were made for a reason – and – trains were a wonderful way of transporting goods across country and didn’t clog up our roadways with unpredictable semi-trucks spraying tire shreds and gravel into the windshields of unsuspecting drivers.

So, I drive the back roads.

Two problems exist with my approach.

1) farm vehicles with top speeds of 15 mph and widths greater than the two paved lanes provided

and

2) potholes

And yet, as my title indicates, by all manner of extrapolation and rudimentary logic, I believe potholes are stylish. I mean, they have to be, right? They are old, run down, cursed about, etc … They’re ignored, smoothed over, patched and repatched, and eventually left to go to hell. Right?

But isn’t that how things become stylish nowadays?

In our world of Paleo/Primal/Neolithic cuisine, backwoods, homesteading, non-GMO fighting, organic, raw, pot smoking, hipster culture, potholes should be the stars. They are everything we seem to find value in.

We’ve become a culture of “if it’s old and broken, let’s make a tv show about it”. Really, how many junk collectors are getting rich buying junk while a camera crew follows them around doing it? And yet, if someone is a hoarder (which is the same thing really), another tv show gets made about how appalling they’re lifestyle is. Really? It’s the same thing. People buying piles of junk to which they are somehow attached and enamored.

And it’s all fodder for our entertainment.

Then, there’s the lifestyle choice of “homesteading”. Oh wow. It’s so exciting and the “thing” to do to grow a garden, raise chickens, and learn how to fix your own stuff. EXCITING I SAID!!! EXCITING!!

People promoting that lifestyle even put out “memes” saying things like: “The first grocery store wasn’t opened until 1946. Before that people had to grow their own food.” And those wanting to be “hip” jump on the bandwagon and tell them how great they are for promoting this lifestyle and start asking questions about how to dig a garden.

But it’s all a bunch of bull.

Don’t get me wrong. I garden. I have my whole life. If my grandparents hadn’t gardened, they wouldn’t have eaten. Not because they didn’t have a store to buy groceries at. They did. But they never could have afforded to buy everything they needed to survive. They were poor. Dirt poor, as the saying goes. I garden because I enjoy it and I’d rather eat fresh food. As they say “it’s in my genes”.

And I have chickens and ducks and turkeys and goats and rabbits … because I love animals.

But there is nothing glamorous about living this way. It takes a lot of work. As I told my son the other day, if gardening didn’t involve work, it would be called shopping.

Shopping developed for a reason. Because somewhere along the way humans figured out that they can’t survive on their own. They can’t work hard enough to produce everything they need or find everything they need to survive on their own. Civilization wouldn’t exist without shopping.

Our first cities were market places, trade days to exchange cattle for grains or share the best water sources. Shells were made into beads and traded for salt. Furs were exchanged for an iron pot. Trade – markets – shopping.

And probably more importantly, shopping helped us develop as human beings not just because our physical needs were being met, but also because it allowed us to have more time to do other things, like develop religion and art and technology. Our emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs also grew and flourished.

So why do we find so much value in “old” things and “old” ways? Why is the junk man suddenly a rock star? Why is hard labor intensive work that keeps us from doing anything else good?

They’re all a bunch of potholes in the road.

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