Well, where to begin?
Firstly, let me apologize for my long absence. My extended visa in the UK expired at the end of March, and so Tegan and I had arranged to move to Dublin, where her PhD began this year.
Unfortunately, her bout with Covid back in February is still showing up on tests, so she wasn’t allowed to travel. I came on ahead, with the cat and the dog to set up shop. Without going into too much detail, life got a lot more complicated than we had expected, and, I didn’t have much time or energy for anything other than moving.
Now I’m in Dublin at last, with Tegan shortly behind (I hope), and so far it has been lovely. Pretty much as soon as I got off the ferry from Holyhead, a fellow stopped to declaim at length about what a pretty dog Raksha is (which is an inarguable Truth), and to give me both his number, and the offer of help if I needed it.
That has set the tone for my time here the last couple days, with neighbors and contacts helping with boxes, groceries (since I am in quarantine) and other offers of assistance.
I couldn’t help thinking that this is very like the kind of community organizing/building work that inspired my direct action post, and after so long in the fragmented social landscape that seems so common in cities, there’s a lot for me to learn simply by trying to be a good member of this community to which I’ve moved.
It’s remarkable, for example, how a group of people going about their lives will cover enough ground in a city that if someone needs something, the odds are good that a neighbour will be able to pick it up, without needing a company like Amazon.
I suppose it comes with a loss in privacy – I’m not used to people outside my household knowing my grocery list and whatnot – but I find that it doesn’t bother me too much.
Maybe coming to terms with mass surveillance and other invasions of privacy has prepared us all to re-embrace the comparatively mild inconveniences that might come with a supportive community.
Multiple governments and corporations know, or will know as soon as they wish to, my health problems, my money problems, what I say near microphones, and what I do online.
They will never offer to pick up supplies for me, or to walk my dog.
When I get a terminal disease, they may well know it before I do, but they will not tell me or help me without a high price.
I’ve known them for two days, but I know for a fact that my new neighbours will bring me soup if I’m ill, whether or not I ask for it. I also know that being a renter impedes my ability to give as much to this community as I otherwise could. Repairs, improvements, and maintenance all have to go through the company that owns my home, and while the people there are perfectly nice, and I’m sure are good people, their decisions in that regard are informed more by seeking profit than by the needs of their tenants.
I cannot be certain, but I suspect that is why my new refrigerator doesn’t work, and won’t until some time after my quarantine is over, despite this flat being vacant for weeks before I got here.
What would life be like if, instead of paying €1600 per month to someone else, somewhere else, I could spend that directly on what’s needed? Even if that was just a few hundred per month, it would allow me to save, and to spend more money on things like communal agriculture projects, or an algal farming cooperative, or something like that.
Instead, we have a long chain of people, each of whom is forced by law and circumstance to pay the next link, all funneling back to a small handful whose only skill is hoarding wealth.
In training themselves to become or remain wealthy, they neglected any of the creativity or human experience that would allow them to spend that wealth in a way that provides a net benefit for their own species, or the species on which we rely.
All.of this is to say that I’m “back”, with no intention of such lapses in the foreseeable future. My formatting will be different for a bit because I’m doing this on a phone till I can get my computer running, but it good to be able to write for y’all again.
Tomorrow’s post will be on food forests, and as always I’m eager for feedback that will help me improve this blog as a resource for those who read it.
Edit: food forest post is going up Sunday. I lost track of time unpacking. It’s easy to forget that things other than writing also take time.