The voice on the phone
asked: Mike... you aren't a capitalist, are you?
I gave him my standard riff about being a mess of contradictions:
"I'm a a pro-nuclear green - a gun-toting democrat - drug-taking republican - a libertarian that believes that without unionisation no-one would be literate enough to read Atlas Shrugged - a communist that's passionate about protecting private property - a socialist that hates slow trains -
But am I a capitalist? Um...
"I mean... you've started a couple companies, and made a pile of money, and spent a pile of money..."
Am I a capitalist?
I'm a red blooded reactionary that's tired of overreacting to everything. I want some peace, some quiet - and I want to be left alone, to think, to sort things out, to write some stuff down, learn from it, and eventually - act on it. I want to have the sense of calm and peace and direction that I haven't had since AOL added itself to the internet."
Money. It's great. I wish I had some. When I had a lot of it, I spent it foolishly, and worried about it a lot. Now that I don't have any, I spend it fairly wisely, and worry about it a lot. Now, most days my choices are limited to lunch or cigarettes. I've lost a lot of weight.
Money. It's a universal medium of exchange - never mind that 80 bucks buys a 1 1/2 hr massage in Santa Cruz and a 40 minute one in Los Gatos - two towns, separated by a scary 2 lane highway, 20 miles apart. I don't know what a "massage" costs in a major city, it's not the same thing. I've spent a lot of money on a lot of heavy duty computers and now I can barely stand to look at one long enough to type in this blog. I can't stand to listen to one, either.
For what I used to spend on one sushi dinner now I stretch out for 2 weeks, and I still have salmon, home cooked, twice a week for the Omega-3s. I go to the public library - actually I order stuff online - read something, make notes, and return it. On time. I never used to do that. My entertainment budget? 20 bucks a month gets me all the dvds I want from netflix, and no commercials.
Periodically I go through a moral meltdown - once every 2 1/2 years I spend 6 months howling at the moon - and now matter how much money I have when I start, insurance, whatever, it's all gone, spent, before I get up off my ass and do something about it.
If accumulating enough capital and insurance to somehow survive this sort of self abuse is capitalism, then I'm a capitalist, by god! Hey, buddy - want some stock options?
Am I a capitalist...
Damn it, I don't know. My subconcious labored at the idea all night. I woke up and spent all yesterday, writing something funny about the concepts that I really believe in - when I should have been gardening, or surfing, cleaning my house or my car, or just doing something outside. It was all sparked by a conversation with Evan Hunt
where we talked about politics and Beating the Brand. Evan came up with an analogy for environmentalism
that I really liked, and wrote it out, in a piece called More thoughts on ad-pollution
. He extended the idea to talk about noise pollution and the collapse of the commons. He spent that day writing it, while my subconcious was making me toss and turn, while grousing about the lack of sun-time he was getting...
Maybe one day we'll get laptops and hang out in the sun together.
If I am or am not a capitalist, then what do I believe in? I'm done writing most of that up, I'm going to let it ferment for a few hours - and get out - strap on a wetsuit - and enjoy real life for a while. I also got some wonderful emails today from Clare Machado that I kind of need to sit and think about.