Tuesday, July 01, 2008

ONE LIGHT TO MONTAUK

THERE USED TO BE ONE TRAFFIC LIGHT ALONG THE 71 MILES BETWEEN PORT JEFFERSON AND MONTAUK POINT.
THERE ARE NOW DOZENS.
WE TEND TO BARELY NOTICE WHEN THINGS CHANGE IN SLOW INCREMENTS….ONE LIGHT AT A TIME.
IT’S LIKE BLOWING THE DUST OFF AN OLD PHOTO ALBUM AND BEING SHOCKED AT THE CONTRASTS….ACCUMULATED CHANGES THAT OCCURRED ONE DAY AT A TIME.
AMERICA IS CHANGING LIKE THAT.…ONE LIGHT AT A TIME.

THE WAY WE LIVE...OUR LIVING STANDARD...IS AN EXAMPLE.
THE ONE WAGE-EARNER FAMILY HAS SLOWLY EVOLVED INTO A TWO
WAGE-EARNER FAMILY. CHILD NUTURING HAS BEEN OUTSOURCED.
THE OLD FRONT PORCHES GAVE WAY TO I-PODS, LEAVING US PROGRESSIVELY ISOLATED.
THE HUNDREDS OF CHANNELS AVAILABLE ON OUR HIGH-DEFINITION TV'S HAVE SHATTERED THE NATIONAL ELECTRONIC HEARTH.

AND NOW, OIL, A GALLON AT A TIME, IS CHANGING THE WAY WE'LL BE LIVING OUR LIVES.

18 comments:

ben's friend said...

To Montauk? Hell, there are three lights and one major intersection between my front door and the bottom of my driveway.

The Ancient Rocker said...

I remember travelling from Brooklyn to Mount Sinai for summer at Nanny and Pops house around 1959. Once we arrived at the old windmill in Commack ( now some suchi place)it would still be a good 45 minutes along winding Route 25 A. I recall my heroics at the age of 7 when I actually rode up the country lane to cross the bluestone strip of that state road and eat a candy bar in the sunshine... Yes, Long Island changes continually... I wonder what will become of all the new Starbucks drive through beverage shoppes now that the corporates realize that they overexpanded? Hell,I could have told them that for free before they were even drawn...The situation is much more than one light at a time.It is about each of us becoming sadly homoginized by the over elected, unnescessary and overpaid safety mafia( how many county legislators does it take to congratulate the 6 year old science fair winner???).I say "Shoot out the lights and let the Americans run wild!"... Too many rules makes for too many fools...

ben's friend said...

Remember when the intersection of 112 and 347 (then Nesconsett Highway) was a traffic circle? During the summer for a short time there would be a revivalist tent right in the center of the traffic circle.

The Ancient Rocker said...

I rode my bike passed the circle many times... My Aunt used to call it Automobile Roullette... But there was a certain innocence to the whole thing... I must have missed the remaining paragraphs of the original post... To really comment I add that it is common knowledge that Americans have enjoyed the benefits of cheap fuel for a century... We desperately need a serious shift.. Bring back Nuclear power, it works in France, and plug in your car...
the real queston is what happens when gas is $8-10 a gallon... One misstep between Iran, Russia and Israel and we will truly be off to the races.. Although some see this as an issue of National Security, I disagree... We have had the ingenuity to solve many of our own problems for some time...We lack the will and our leaders lack the vision..Time to strap on a set and invent our way out of this..Money changes everything!

Anonymous said...

I don't think we lack the will to invent more fuel efficient cars. The problem is that for decades the oil and car industries did not want an alternative. Corporate greed once again. Thirty years ago we were in the same mess - the only thing missing this time is the line.

Anonymous said...

Heck, I enjoy all the lights, especially when they are red. It gives me time to adjust my DVD player, make a selection on my iPod, roll my own to save the tax or even make a cell call. If you turn your engine off at red lights you can consider yourself helping the planet. And if you are feeling a bit reactive you can jump the light and get your photo taken. If you oppose modern advancements you can put on one of those clown outfits, ride your bike and ignore all of the traffic regulations.

Anonymous said...

"THE OLD FRONT PORCHES GAVE WAY TO I-PODS, LEAVING US PROGRESSIVELY ISOLATED."

Very true- the iPod even has those ubiquitous (and medically dangerous) headphones that literally isolate you from the rest of the world while they incrementally make you a little more deaf to the world every day.

Yet at the same time, look at how many people you reach, seemingly isolated with your laptop. There is no way you could have done that 20 years ago.

The world is complicated.

josheisenberg@yahoo.com

ben's friend said...

I agree with the ancient rocker about being homogenized. If you were to blindfold any American and dump him/her off in any shopping center anywhere in the country, there would be nothing to betray local color or regional characteristics in the landscape. Each strip mall looks exactly like every other..Home Depot, Radio Shack, Starbucks, Duncan Donuts, Subway, Domino Pizza, etc. etc. America is fast losing its soul.

quicksand said...

BEN-FRIEND

BUT NO TOLL BOOTH?

quicksand said...

DEAR ROCKER

YOU SPEAK OF THE PRE-ESTEEM-BUILDING ERA. A TIME WHEN THE SUN WAS NOT THE ENEMY, AND EVERY 'STRANGER' WAS NOT A PEDOPHILE, AND WEST-NILE WAS MERELY A PLACE.
ALAS...THE BIKE-RACKS ARE GONE.
AND MAYBE MUCH MORE.

quicksand said...

BEN FRIEND
A TRAFFIC CIRCLE WAS A MONUMENT TO CIVILITY.
WE CAN'T HAVE THEM NOW. ONLY THE BRITISH CAN.
SWEET LITTLE ROUNDABOUTS.

quicksand said...

ROCKER

WE'LL ACT WHEN WE STOP CONGRATULATING OURSELVES FOR WINNING THAT SCIENCE FAIR MANY YEARS AGO.

quicksand said...

DEAR ANON

GOOD POINT.
HOWEVER...DETROIT, THE GREAT ENABLER, GAVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANTED.

quicksand said...

ANON

TRAFFIC REGULATIONS?
HECK........THEM ARE ANCIENT HISTORY.

quicksand said...

JOSH

YUP
WE LIVE IN A COMPLICATED WORLD.
BUT, IT'S CALLED AN 'I-POD', NOT A 'WE-POD'.

GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TOO. HIP REPLACEMENTS AND STRING-CHEESE.

DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN WE DRANK WATER?
THAT WAS IN THE PRE-HYDRATION AGE. ::SIGH::

quicksand said...

BEN FRIEND

AS WAS ONCE SAID...ANYPLACE HAS BECOME EVERYPLACE.

rthgrl said...

one of my dad's memories from the '20's was sitting on the front porch of their summer home on 25A in Poquott, hearing a car in the distance...waiting for it to come and go, trying to guess what make it was before it became visible. Another was swimming across Port Jeff harbor just to get to the other side accompanied by a rowboat escort...try doing that today, you'd have some high-speed, gas-guzzling, noise machine leaving prop marks on your head, and just keep going.
Every generation feels the current one is facing a world for the worse, but that does really seem true for this current time. With all of these "improvements" in America's lifestyle, we move alittle further apart from each other, moving more into our stuff for that feeling of wholeness and away from the most important thing...our connection to our fellow beings.
Maybe what this country needs is some kind of Mad Maxx moment to really shake us, get us back to a more primal time... The earth will always be here, whether or not we are. It will correct itself and heal. Will we do the same without some kind of holocaust?

quicksand said...

DEAR RTHGRL

THANKS FOR THE THOUGHTFUL COMMENT.

I THINK THAT WE ARE FLIRTING WITH A MAD MAXX MOMENT RIGHT NOW.
WE HAVE NOT YET FULLY FELT THE SHOCK WAVES GENERATED FROM THE WELL-HEAD.
WE ARE PETROLEUM CRACK-HEADS.

AS TO OUR CREEPING ISOLATION ...
WE DON'T EVEN DRINK FROM THE SAME WATER FOUNTAIN ANY LONGER.
WE NOW DRINK FROM I-BOTTLES.