at the University of Bielefeld, Germany
You know what’s awesome – and infuriating – about people? They’re going to do what they’re going to do. Unless you’ve been beaten down by fifty years of communist or fascist rule and thus have no mind of your own, I’m constantly amazed at how people will make the split-second assessment of “this is frickin’ insane” and decide to flout the rules.
We rent our farm out during the summer, and while 90% of our tenants have been an absolute joy, you have to understand that even the best of them are like water, and tend toward their lowest level. As such, you can’t be surprised when something keeps happening that drives you crazy, because chances are you would be doing it too, if you didn’t own the place.
In upstate NY there’s an old toll house that used to charge passengers to get from New York to Massachusetts. When it was operating in the 19th century, it looked like this:
Now it is empty, and looks like this:
Yep, just an abandoned old lady waving her hanky while 18-wheelers plow through at 60 mph. But what’s interesting to me is a country lane just behind it, near the Columbia County recycling center, called “Shun Pike Road”. It’s only recently paved, tiny and twisty, with the forest and Berkshires threatening to swallow it whole. One can only imagine the muddy disaster Shun Pike Road was in 1870. But by god, there were so many people willing to “shun” the “pike” that the road got a name.
By the way, “pike” is short for “turnpike,” which comes from the old word “pike” meaning spear, or pointed wood shaft. To keep horses from going on footpaths, they would set several pikes on a rotating wheel (a much larger version of the turnstile), and it came to mean any road that required a special stopping point. That’s where we also get the phrase “coming down the pike.” But I digress.
Wait, what was I saying? I had a point. Something about abandoning yourself to the organic workflow of the humans around you, rather than fighting it. And how it fits with illegally downloading music.
Oh man, I should start writing these earlier.