Monday, September 15, 2008

Poking a hole in reality

Sometimes the feeling of living in an alternate reality, a giant stage-set, can be very intense. I look around, and it all seems perfectly normal. The sun is shining, the cars are whizzing by, people are shopping at the mall. Someone, somewhere, just bought a new Hummer. Could it all be about to change?

People believe this is the real world, this - the suburbs, the strip malls, the car dealerships, the highways, the grocery stores. They don't realize that everything around us has been built completely on a lie. The lie is that energy will always be cheap. And once I learned that lie, I always feel as if I could poke a hole right through our so-called real world and see the future on the other side.

Still, I sometimes doubt my sanity, because no one seems to know what is going on. My friends, families, and co-workers seem oblivious. Totally clueless. And the media doesn't help - they don't seem to know anything either.

Sometimes my thoughts are consumed with all the changes I must make to prepare. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with anxiety about all the unknowns - will the supply chain break down? will we be able to afford to drive to work and run our refrigerators? when are the cannibals coming? ;)

So there's anxiety, doubt, fear, obsession, and uncertainty. But what else is there to do but act? Perhaps today I put together a massive Peak Oil preparation spreadsheet (or three). Maybe tomorrow I write a blog, Wednesday I buy big bags of rice from Sam's, and Thursday I start a freakishly large garden. And don't forget gadgets - there's that Sun Oven, a water filter, a rain barrel, maybe a grain mill.

Over time, I begin to meet more people who have realized the truth. The truth is that there never was any chance for a world based on infinite growth and ever-increasing usage of energy. It just isn't possible. And Peak Oil is bringing that truth on home. We will, inevitably, revert to a sustainable way of life. We can choose to transition willingly, with grace and laughter, or we can choose to hold on to our orgy of consumption until we are dragged away, kicking and screaming.

As I have adjusted to the idea of complete and total change, I have come to see Peak Oil as a grand opportunity. An adventure. Yes, it will be horrible for many people, and ugly and messy, and uncomfortable. Maybe I really won't like a post-peak world. But since I have no other real choice but to confront it, why not have some fun? Why not CHOOSE to make preparing for Peak Oil a grand game?

It can be fun to know what others don't. It can be downright enjoyable to spend all night...or all winter... slobbering over the choices in the seed catalogs. It can be entertaining to pretend you are Nicholas Cage in the opening scene of Leaving Las Vegas. It can be amusing to find all the best peak oil bargains at a garage sale. And it can be spectacularly madcap fun to be a liberal feminist buying a shotgun.

So, if you haven't gotten started, you're missing out on all the fun! We may as well greet the future with a smile, a laugh, a garden hoe, and a margarita. I will be.


Alison said...

Hausfrau, I applaud your thinking and your approach to all this. I still have my head in the sand, distracted by all the little everyday things I want to dream about. The path forward is not clear to me; I hope we are not in for a 'big bang' type of conversion to your way of thinking and acting.

I'll keep reading your blog, hoping I may learn some sense.

Verde said...

Loving it. Hubby once said, think of all the good sales there'll be when TSHTF.

I'm there thinking and planning. Today I bought a giant bag of beans, macs and cheese, brown sugar, big hunking block of cheese, chocolate chips, months worth of dog food, 10 toothbrushes...

No, these weren't random purchaces they first look to be - they were the result of my last night's survey of the 'supplies' before an early morning trip to the city.

I love that we can find like minded people on the internet. I have the grain mill but no solar oven, now if we lived closer we could share that and the solar ovens.

d.a. said...

With the bankruptcy of Lehman and all the financial chaos, I sure could use a margarita right now... :-)

Lewru said...

Love it!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Great post! After learning about of resource depletion - particularly oil, I began to change immensely as well.

I do agree though, we should see opportunity in crisis. Peak oil might be the chance for a lot of us to get off the hamster wheel of wage slave jobs, get us to see a reality beyond our own little bubble, regain some sense of moral values, and so on. But you are right, at the very least we DO have the 'ol "I know something that you don't know!" angle as well.

Thanks for the wonderful post.

MeadowLark said...

"My friends, families, and co-workers seem oblivious. Totally clueless."
That's what you're doing here. Not only are you helping YOUR family, you're helping MINE with your information. (Hi Michigan contingent, I hope you really did stop by like I asked!!!!)

"And the media doesn't help - they don't seem to know anything either."
They know. It's just in their best interest to continue the consumption frenzy. GRRRRRR.

Um, Margarita. Perhaps I need a human-powered blender. Hadn't thought of that.

Hausfrau said...

There is a human powered blender at:


Chile said...

Give me chocolate over a margarita any day of the week! I hear ya on the illusion seeming real at first glance. It's tempting to get sucked into it and forget all this peak oil scary stuff. We vascillate between feeling like we are doing reasonably well in our preparations to being scared that we'll never sell our house (in a bad longterm location) and be able to buy a home in a much better location.

During those anxiety attacks, it doesn't feel too much like a game... Petting goats helps.

Hausfrau said...

Chile - too true, hard to think things are fun during an anxiety attack. I am prone to insomnia, and "making things fun" instead of obsessing helps me deal with it and keeps me moving instead of being paralyzed.

green with a gun said...

I have the opposite feeling. I look at all the cars zooming around and the people wandering around the mall purposelessly, and think, "surely this can't ever end?" It takes a real act of will to believe it.

I'm of an age which has seen changes, though. When I was a teenager in the 1980s, if you had told us that in ten years the USSR would be gone and Poland a member of NATO, we wouldn't have believed you.

So I use that sort of thing to keep me focused on the likely changes, knowing that the world can change. Exactly what the world will change to, or how fast it'll change, is hard to say - that it can't continue like this is certain, though.

Still hard to believe.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

I like your approach to this, personally we have been heading this direction for a long time, but our friends continue in their wasteful ways, they will only be able to quit their decadent lifestyles when they are forced to. I grew up this way, on a farm, so really I'm thinking of our daughter and her future, so we are clinging to our old ways, and not falling for big,and more is better.

Thanks for your blog writing.