Rendered Fat Content


Charles Laborde: Traffic, Montmartre (1925)

"Mobility has become its opposite."

My mobility will very likely be the death of me, for I cannot seem to deny the primal urge to move. My dissatisfaction with simply sitting invites me into perhaps the most self destructive habit on this planet, driving. The imagined freedom of the road goads many into what I might label Morebility, the morbidity of movement; movement for its own sake, movement as compulsion, movement as self-justifying. In the small city to which The Muse and I have settled, traffic only rarely presents a problem. When the travel time across the whole place takes about eight minutes during the peak of rush hour, such as it is, nobody's really in the business of seriously trying to limit the number of cars on the road. Along the Front Range of Colorado, though, traffic has become much more than a problem. It seems more a disease as each takes their leave and the roads quickly clog, filled to beyond their design capacity for several hours each day. Rush hour moves at a snail's pace. Freedom of movement becomes a parody of itself.

The Gods, of course, absolutely love this stuff.
The irony of making men free only to see them enslave themselves again, cannot possibly escape them, and they chuckle out loud from the clouds, producing thunder-like sounds. Everyone except the bus rider seems complicit and as one bumper sticker voiced it, "Because of me and forty-seven people like me, one bus isn't clogging up this road." With an attitude like that, even The Gods might feel moved to believe that we, humanity, deserves the fate we seem to so vehemently insist upon for ourselves. There will be no salvation. This self-inflicted Hell just might qualify as our Heaven here.

The skeptics who can't quite believe that we could ever achieve a renewable energy economy, probably try and fail to imagine how we'll ever manage to swap out all those moving cars. The effort must seem to them like major surgery performed while the patient maintains their mobility, on the go surgery, and they might well be correct in suspecting that there will be no stopping of any of it in the offing. It would be difficult enough to switch out vehicles if they were stopped, but infinitely worse to attempt to do it while everything's moving, and we see no evidence of anybody slowing down, let alone parking. During This Damned Pandemic, when many stopped commuting, traffic accidents started soaring upward as people took the opportunity relatively empty roadways presented to engage in speed racing, resulting in an uptick in fatalities. Freedom of the road seems to goad us into ever more frenetic forms of self-destruction.

I took it upon myself yesterday to drive sixty miles north. Had I followed my GMap's suggestion and hopped on a freeway, the trip might have taken forever, but I've learned through sad experience that the GMap estimate always underestimates time when freeways get involved and that quite the opposite of their misleading label, freeways tend to be anything but freeing. They most usually produce the opposite of their intention, creating something more akin to a parking lot than movement. I took a couple of my secret passages, previously discovered with much iteration, though I got lost twice but got myself found again after. The trip took two hours and twenty minutes. Typical for such excursions, I averaged about twenty-five miles an hour.

When I lived here along The Front Range, I worked harder to overcome the feeling that I needed to succumb to the seduction of the road and go somewhere. The Damned Pandemic helped. I largely stayed at home. I'd venture out on Saturday morning or in the very early mornings, before Morebility took over. Even then, I mostly stuck to the roads less frequently taken, the so-called long ways around, because the shortcuts tended to be dead ends. Mobility has become its opposite. I doubt that any of us will ever be able to stop it and just stay home, to learn to roam by foot or, better, to not feel compelled to move at all. But we're addicted, just as certainly as we predicted that whatever we obsess becomes destined to become its opposite.


We keep moving
This was a mobile writing week, one spent migrating backwards for the primary purpose of moving on. It has been filled with revelations, which perhaps might be the point of leaving. of mobility, of even Morbidity. The Muse insists that getting out into the world makes stuff happen. Who's to deny this? Nothing seems to goad experience like presence. Nobody, though, can live solely by migration. Migration simply cannot be a purpose. It just fills in around a transition. We must eventually land somewhere and settle, though none of us ever seems ready to simply settle for settling. This inability to keep still might well be the end of each and every one of us, but we keep moving.

I began my writing week uncertain in a certain specific way, surrounded by
Schrödingers. "I do not always or reliably appreciate or even recognize when I stand at an inflection point, a place where my next act will collapse an array of both/and possibilities into a single instance, but I am quite literally always surrounded by them."

I next celebrated my birthday, after a fashion, in CellAbrate. "Each birthday just reminds me that the lifeday's the thing, the time spent simply imbedded within the blesséd normal, everyday activities of living."

The most popular piece this period proved to be one I titled TheIrrelevancies. "Play requires a growing separation between ego and self, certainly not to the point of selflessness, for that state seems pointless, but to approaching the point where one recognizes that nothing is ultimately very much about them. You're at best an observer."

Beginning this week's bout of Morbility, we began our journey with LeaveTaking. "Moving out into the world seems to unsettle The Gods, who are always watching, and magic happens. Some strange convergence will occur. It always does. It always has. Careful plans won't come to pass. Something better, previously unthinkable, will come instead and we'll be the unworthy beneficiaries. We'll come back richer than we left."

I next addressed one of the prominent paradoxes of Morebility, of traveling, with MakingTime. "Few experiences seem more natively sublime than the essentially transcendent manufacture of time by means of sitting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle."

I inadvertently initiated a tradition by asking a simple question in StoryOuting. "… this year seemed to ache for a story, one nobody had ever heard before, one which Homer himself might have penned. A story only one person in the history of this world so far could have ever credibly told, and one that seemed right then to desperately need to be delivered.

"Why don't you tell me your story?" I asked …"

I ended this writing week AThousandMiles from home, and feeling the distance. " I return already gone, already in possession of the future long withheld me …"

And that's where this week's Morebility left me. By this time next week, I will have returned, two thousand more miles beneath my belt and back where I started, standing before a fresh batch of Schrödingers. I might just as well CellAbrate my foibles while I'm busy mastering TheIrrelevancies. I might just be forever LeaveTaking, believing I'm actually MakingTime, outing my own story in Homeric fashion, over thousands and thousands of endless miles. Thank you for tagging along!

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver