22 May 2012

Living in the Drawing

PREFACE required to describe the Drawing, which I can't find:

During the 1930s, people who had things  -  houses, land, cars, savings, jobs, food - lost them.
During the 1940s, people endured the war.

In the 1950s, many things became available again to people who had lost or never had houses, land, cars, savings, jobs, food,  AND, thanks to wartime technological innovations and industrial capability, household appliances!

America and Western Europe went acquisitive  -  symbolized (to my way of thinking) by the "New Look" fashions with yards and yards and YARDS of fabric in long, full skirts.

Those of us who grew up in this abundance reacted against it in the 1960s and 70s.

We said –
In the future there will be no private ownership!  no waste of resources! no houses, cars, savings, jobs, or clothes particular to just one family or worse, just one person!
We will live in collectives!
We will have communal organic gardens!
We will work together, all races and creeds and sexual orientations side-by-side!
We will build our houses in hillsides using found materials!
We will raise our children in collectively-operated, innovative schools where they will learn useful work and crafts and never have to sit at a desk or even wear shoes!
We will stay healthy on work and whole food and peace of mind, but if we ever need health care, it will be free and holistic, and there will be no stigma attached to handicaps or mental illness. 
Internal combustion vehicles will be available only for emergency use  -  We will innovate a world of bicycle-like vehicles that are our transportation and our tractors. No more pollution!  No more traffic jams! 
With no religion, private property, or spouses-for-life, there will be nothing to fight over so we will eliminate war and weapons. (Famously, "Make Love Not War")
And if we ever lose track of our vision, we will take some hallucinogens and it will reappear.


I went online to see if I could find any of the millions of drawings depicting this future world seen from the 1960s.
Amazingly, the drawings seem to have been composted.
The closest I came was something much more recent -  indicating that the vision persists and the "future" is still ahead of us.


Living in the Drawing
I composed  the memoir above to get across that TODAY, 18 May 2012, here in Portland, Oregon, I was DROPPED INTO a drawing of the future as viewed from the 1960s.
It was downright eerie. 

First of all - it is an excitingly clear day, drawn by a child.
The temperature is a perfect 70 deg F with a light, cooling breeze.
The sun is shining.
Every plant and tree on the green earth is budding.
The mountains look at us with fierce beauty.

I put on my bike helmet and coasted down our neighborhood hill to downtown, then across the Hawthorne Bridge on the municipally-designated bike lane, then pedalled easily in a middle gear up into Northeast Portland again via municipally-designated bike lanes.
The bike lanes occur hard by many bicycle stores - which have handmade signs in rainbow colors and rammed-earth structures for resting and bike racks confected from found scrap metal and owners who are lean bearded guys in jeans- just like in the drawings of the 1960s.

I went to see my acupuncturist -  a mother of two who works part-time in an office she shares with other naturopathic doctors, Chinese Medicine doctors, massage therapists, and reflexologists  -  all of them women.
In the waiting room are picture books of out-of-the-way wild beauty in Oregon, hardwood toys to amuse children, and persons of intermediate genders.
Skirted men, bearded ladies, Orthodox seniors who fold up their bikes and park them under the furniture:  all this was envisioned in  the 60s.

After my treatment, I strolled past the shops featuring  toys handmade from recycled materials, vintage household goods, locally-grown produce, and cuisine made with NO meat, gluten, or dairy.

I whizzed back along the bike path, through the peaceful settlement of homeless families dwelling in shelters confected from tarps and large cardboard boxes. My skirt tracing a wake, I joined the flow of cyclists in jeans, suits, shorts; ears only or whole faces pierced or unpierced; skins and bikes alike of many colors.
We stood in lawful, harlequin array waiting for the bridge to open and close to permit a white-sailed boat to sail placidly by  -  children waving from the edge of the hull. (The marine navigation bit of the curriculum at the Free School?)

Back up the hill toiled I in my lowest gear  -  unhurried and untroubled -  enjoying the fragrance of the municipally-maintained lilac garden  -  breathing somewhat easier thanks to the ministrations of my non-allopathic healer.

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