Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Recreation Nation

I can only take my best guess what the human species will need - aside from mass sterilization -- to enjoy life in  *The Future*. I gave it my best shot, focusing on non-motorized recreation, because we were a recreation nation, for all our protestations of industrious work addiction. People worked hard to play hard. Buy a speedboat, a jet ski, an RV, a dirt bike. Get tickets to a professional sports event.

The alternative energy folks and the neo-agriculturalists offer lifestyle solutions that do not directly attack the motor mentality. You can kill cyclists on the road just as effectively with a hybrid or full electric vehicle, and still have a modest carbon footprint. Indeed, kill enough people with your electric vehicle and you will be carbon-negative, because you've reduced the population while avoiding your own fossil fuel use.

All motorized transportation and entertainment can be greened up. Electricity is the rage right now. It still has to be generated, but we'll get that tidied up, too. Try an electric speedboat!

I have a feeling that recreation may be at the top of a declining slope. In fact, it has probably started down it. I see fewer people at play at the theme park I think of as Wolfe Disney World. It's not just traffic in our store. The surges are shorter and smaller in every activity.

Even the annual herd migration known as Motorcycle Week seems to have been shrinking steadily. This year, most of the participants I saw made me think, "born to be wild...a looooong time ago." Now their tune is "Born to be Wide."

We could never have maintained the pace we set in the 1980s and '90s. I rode that wave, but it scared me then, because I knew it had to crash on the shore eventually. The lifestyle I envisioned when I was inexperienced enough to believe society's problems were not only soluble, but on the way to being solved, used pedal power extensively. Pedal to work. Pedal on errands. Pedal on vacation. A few years of it showed me how much nearly everyone else hated that idea, and hated people like me for being out there in the way. But maybe its time will come. More likely we'll go straight from the explosive end of the machine age right back into the stone age, but I'll be out there riding in any case.

I have a lot of trouble getting myself just to play. The commute serves multiple purposes: exercise, recreation of a sort, and cheap transportation. Meanwhile, my livelihood depends on other people recreating, since that makes up the vast majority of bike use, and all cross-country skiing.

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