By now just about everyone in this country is either feeling the impact of the economic downturn or knows someone who is intimately acquainted with the current financial woes that are gripping the nation. It seems even the rich are starting to scale back, even if its just cutting back on the number of designer duds that buy on a regular basis as evidenced by the fact that in places like New York, even the swank stores are having sales.
Now lets be honest for a second, the past decade or so in this nation, the quest to consume had become not only the national past time but the national religion. Feeling bored, hop in the car and head to the mall….feeling down, well go shop, better yet having a great day, time to shop. You get the picture, for a while there everyone was shopping, shit for some of those years even yours truly listed shopping as a hobby. Well the church of consumption is suffering from a lack of members as folks have realized maybe the central message of shop till you drop is really a bad idea.
That said, as many of us look for ways to downsize our lives and live within our means most of us are looking for meaningful activities, activities that won’t leave our pocketbooks empty and leave us with useless crap.
On the flip side though is the growing number of folks who are wondering if the end times are coming and are starting to get ready. A few months ago I started to stumble across the blogs of folks who were looking to get off the grid and become self sufficient. I admit initially I had a few laughs, after all who would willing give up their wash machine to start start hand-washing the family laundry on a scrub board in the bathtub? Turns out quite a few folks…yep there is a growing number of folks who are getting ready to live a Little House on the Prairie existence.
I must admit there are times I wonder if I should be making such preparations, but while I think everyone should have some extra food on hand and maybe even some cash laying around. After all natural disasters do happen and I have learned in my 7 years in Maine where a winter storm can shut everything down, it pays to be prepared. I do think we can take things too far though.
Case in point, I saw this list of skills someone suggested everyone should have to prepare for the coming rough times, Soap making.
Canning and preserving.
Cooking/Baking on a wood stove.
Now I don’t know about you, but should the world as we know it go to hell in a hand basket ASAP, my ass is going to be shit the fuck out of luck. Both the spousal unit and I are not handy folks, I mean my man is a writer for crying out loud and I am a non-profit administrator, neither of which are professions that might serve us well in a Little House on the Prairie scenario.
Then it hit me should the world end as we know it, there are plenty of urban folks and Black urban dwellers both of which I have been who wouldn’t know the first thing about any of this shit. Even my Pops who grew up in rural Arkansas but has been a big city man almost 40 years now probably wouldn’t know the first thing about butchering any animals. As I joked with the spousal unit, should the end come, then this woman would probably become a stone vegetarian if I had to go kill a animal and then figure out how to turn Bambi into a burger. No, it would be easier to scout out weeds and eat em, of course with the chemicals that have been put on most lawns including my own, I would probably die.
Which brings to the next point, if you are stockpiling a year’s worth of food (yes, I know folks who are doing this) what the fuck happens when the grub is gone. Ideally you would be growing some grub during that time but if you are like me, you might have a black thumb. Or better yet, if the neighbors see you eating hardy, whose to stop them from coming over and ganking your shit?
Nah, while I want to be prepared for the worse I think we can take this too far, look if all systems fail and food is scarce and life reverts to some 1800’s scene, it might be around that time I start praying to get beamed the fuck out of this life and onto the next.
Downsizing and living a simpler life, these are things I am down for but fanstastic end world visions, no….
That said, it is a great time to look into gardening if you have the space or in my case buying into a CSA and eating food grown close to home. For starters fresh local food is better for you and the environment. Really lettuce trucked thousands of miles taste like shit, I know because ever since I started eating locally a few years ago, I hate buying meat and veggies from the chain store and only do it during the winter time since not much grows in Maine during the winter. I may save some of my local veggies this year for the winter but I doubt I will have more than my normal month or so of groceries in my freezers and pantry.
So are you ready for the end of the world?