We Live in Utopia

I honestly think that life can’t get much better than right now. I have food when I want it; the security of a home; instant communication technology at my service; easy-to-find entertainment. Do we live like kings? Ladies and gentlemen, we live better than kings. I get the impression that the luxuries of kingdom are tempered by, you know, the strong possibility you’ll be assassinated. It’s not just that, though. Humans are relative beings. We appreciate things on a comparative basis. Like back back back in the day when sugar was a luxury anything sweet was awesome. Imagine what a Kit-Kat bar would taste like to someone from the 17th century. They’d plotz! To us a Kit-Kat is so common it is almost expected. By that measure, things must suck for the completely rich. Easy access to everything means true appreciation for nothing. No, we here in Carrboro don’t have it very hard, but we have it just hard enough that we know we have it pretty fucking good.

This hit me smack in the face when I went to a little fest in Saxapahaw with Mom, Julie, Uncle Alex and FCOR (first cousin once removed) Melissa. It was downright bucolic. Shaded, grassy hill to set up a picnic of amazing food. Barefoot children rolling in the grass. Hoola-hoopers… doing their thing. It almost made me sad to think how good we have it. Like there must be a balance and so others are paying for our good times.

Of course I am sad that not all communities are as utopic as Carrboro; some are quite hellish. Even in Carrboro not all are as well of as I am. Is this the way things must be? Can I make fajitas whenever I want because people are slaving away in wheat fields? Does civilization necessitate “have’s” and “have not’s”?

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1 Comment

  1. “Like there must be a balance and so others are paying for our good times.”

    The Third World is called the Third World for a reason, yo. Cause we come first. Exploit or be exploited. Sometimes it’s a pain to go to all the way to Africa or Iraq to exploit people for our own gain, and that’s the beauty of accepting just enough immigrants to keep those Kit-Kats churning out. Although, so you know, #5 on my list of “Signs You Are Being Exploited” is “A Kit-Kat bar is your idea of a luxury meal.” #3 is “Your richest relative buys a new home and you have to help take the WHEELS off it.”

    Carrboro, for better or worse, is an alternate reality. It’s more insulated from the problems of the world than 99.9% of the places to live. There are pros and cons to that, but if you live there it’s good to be aware of it. I know there are probably a few people in Carrboro who might like the rest of the world to be environmental crusaders, including the HIV positive mom in Uganda whose 4 year old hasn’t eaten in 2 days and whose husband was just macheted by a militia.

    Carrboro, with its isolation and the luxury for all the ethical philosophizing you can shake a stick at, couldn’t exist if rich people (and Carrboro is rich) weren’t exploiting poor people. It couldn’t exist if the US didn’t have a huge military keeping out invaders. It couldn’t exist without space age polymers. (Just thought I’d throw that in.) It couldn’t exist without hummus!

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And plenty of hummus too

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    Speaking of possessions, a shout out to the Third World sugar plantation laborers. This Kit-Kat is the bomb! (Seriously, you save up a few weeks’ pay and try one sometime.)

    Here ya go —


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