TANTRUMS

So my city lost all water service for about 6 hours today. It is back on but we've been advised not to drink or wash in it for 36 hours without first boiling it. Oh, and the city ran out of salt and money to pay the city workers overtime to drive the plows, so our accumulated 8-10" of snow (it hasn't been above freezing in weeks) is turning into a solid, packed-down 3" crust of ice and rock hard snow. Oh, and when I walk to work Tuesday morning the air temperature is predicted to be -11 F.

I mention this as a way of saying "Fuck this place, I'm going to bed" and abrogating my responsibilities for the evening.

It's amusing to watch how much we – and I include myself pointedly here – throw hissy fits when our modern conveniences are taken away. Is this really that big of a deal? Is there not a water boil order in effect every day for like 70% of the world's population? Take away our water or power (or, god forbid, the internet) for a few hours and we act like we're in a walled city under siege, reduced after months of starvation to eating weeds and wallpaper glue.

Of course it's not a matter of what is absolutely essential but of what we are accustomed to. In my case I am bitchy enough to begin with at the prospect of getting up at the crack of dawn to go to work; adding any layers of inconvenience, however trivial, to that process is more than sufficient to raise my hackles.

I think this is what the kids call a first world problem.

19 thoughts on “TANTRUMS”

  • AND YET… the first world actually does have the resources to avoid these problems. So maybe your hackles aren't up so much about the inconveniences you face, but about the fact that you have to face inconveniences that could easily have been avoided. Like, by charging enough taxes to pay the city workers. Or by installing the badly needed infrastructure to have a safe drinking/bathing water supply.

  • "It's amusing to watch how much we – and I include myself pointedly here – throw hissy fits when our modern conveniences are taken away."

    Um, dude, not having clean water and passable roads is the very definition of a Third World problem. And I find it interesting that we pampered First Worlders are increasingly having to deal with Third World conditions in the Greatest Country Evah. Just shows more breakdown in the institutions that gave this nation such a great standard of living in the first place. Very sad.

  • not having clean water and passable roads is the very definition of a Third World problem. And I find it interesting that we pampered First Worlders are increasingly having to deal with Third World conditions in the Greatest Country Evah. Just shows more breakdown in the institutions that gave this nation such a great standard of living in the first place.

    I suspect that this is what's going to have to happen before we can get any positive change: more and more people losing access to clean water and passable roads, never mind higher education and jobs that pay living wages. Although with the level of racist and misogynist bullshit I'm seeing, I'm beginning to think that the problem isn't paying taxes OMG for public services, it's having non-whites, women and LGBT folk benefit from those public services and start gaining equal footing with straight white dudes.

  • We lost power a few nights ago, and after waiting a decent interval, I cackled with glee and set off about the house lighting coleman lanterns and warming the baby's bedtime milk on the woodstove, even popped a chemlight so the baby would have her usual nightlight, albeit somewhat greenish. Very pleased with myself and my readiness, I poured a largish whiskey, sat down, and the lights came back on.

    I realize that this is technically a good thing, but damn.

  • Third world problems: bad water, bad or non-existent waste disposal, intermittent or no electricity, corrupt police often with local 'strong man' rule, no fire department, one or no wage earner for an extended family group, no reliable uncorrupted rule of law. Women are not educated, have little or no economic or property rights, few political rights, little control over lives, little or no prenatal care, little or no respect.We have hit third world status in some areas of the U.S. Are those areas growing?

  • Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Um, dude, not having clean water and passable roads is the very definition of a Third World problem. And I find it interesting that we pampered First Worlders are increasingly having to deal with Third World conditions in the Greatest Country Evah.

    Well, there's this story from a while back

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704913304575370950363737746

    Counties in America depaving roads to save on maintenance expenses.

    Now, let's consider that for a moment – productivity is going up, and yet local governments are becoming too poor to maintain things they used to be able to cope with.

    There's the money and resources there to deal with the problem, with most of America's problems – but not the will. And these local governments will be left to hang without help from above or elsewhere because fuck you, Jack, I got mine.

    The US's decline is a political failure. 'Fuck you, Jack, I got mine' is the mantra that will be written on its gravestone.

    I honestly do not expect the US to survive (as the current set of political units) for my lifetime.

  • Even people in the 3rd world love to be spoiled. It just doesn't happen to them often. As I repeatedly say to student who come in with "I don't want to complain, but …" "Complain as much as you need. Be my guest, start complaining."

    Bitching is fun. Bitching is legal. Bitching is free (so far). There is nothing wrong in bitching. Enjoy!

  • First world problem is: There was this really awesome sunset, but wouldn't you know it. My battery died so I couldn't tweet it. I'm so devo'd!!

    When it comes to potable water, impassable roads, health, education etc in developing countries, they don't so much complain as it's a sign of resignation that they are powerless to do anything about it. Can you make it rain, or stop raining? No. Why bother.

    However, they would agree that it's BS that if you *can* and *do* have the ability to fix something or make something happen but choose not to because people are f***tards… You have every right to be pissed off.

  • Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    Hadn't seen that story but God that's depressing. But you know I'm heartened by the knowledge that some rich Venture Capitalist doesn't have to pay high taxes so he can afford to drive on the smoothly paved roads of his gated community. I'm sure that will trickle down to us plebes … some day.

  • This was what was supposed to happen after the Producers went Galt. Why is it happening when they're getting what they said they wanted (not the world, just our half)?

    It's almost as if the healing power of unrestrained greed is a myth.

  • I manage a purchasing cooperative for a bunch of municipalities. I sometimes look at how much it costs to make sure public facilities don't have crabgrass and think that some of what we have decided is civilization is too expensive. Right now in the northeast (and probably elsewhere) there is a shortage of salt, owing to the extended extreme weather that plagued a significant chunk of the nation, and exacerbated by poor infrastructure (freight trains that can't run when it's too cold, for example).

    What kind of kills me is how these advances have created a kind of helplessness. The seasoned public works guys are making it work – mixing in sand (which will be a mess that will have to be cleaned up, but helps in the moment) to their salt, for example. One PWD in a very small town has a tiny salt shed, and he wanted to have more product on hand, so he made a second salt shed out of cinder blocks and tarps.

    The younger guys are screaming like Chicken Little, because the only solution they know is to buy the product the specific product they like.

    Anyway – this is part of the cost of roads – the need to treat them with something to make sure they are passable in the winter. Personally, I think mother nature is telling us all to take a break, but that seems to be a minority opinion.

    Not having potable water is definitely a 3rd world problem, so yeah, bitch away.

  • That WSJ story doesn't bother me. In a lot of parts of rural Michigan, we have too many roads and it mainly just benefits exurbanization to have them paved. Farms don't really need paved roads, people who want to commute to the nearby city do, or are more likely to think that they do.

  • Well the times are maybe a-changing. Today and tomorrow workers at the Chattanooga VW plant are voting on whether to join the UAW. If they do, then the VW plant will start a European-style "works council" at the plant — as they do at ALL of their plants, save the one in Chattanooga and their plant in China.

    RWers are naturally having hissy fits and the Tennessee Republicans are hilariously threatening to end tax incentives for plant expansions and whatnot. There's a billboard campaign asking if you want Chattanooga to look like downtown Detroit (but sadly no comparable one pointing out that Germany is the EU's strongest economy). It's all very amusing.

    I have a couple of posts up about it, if you're interested:

    http://southernbeale.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/i-hate-it-when-mom-and-dad-fight/

    and

    http://southernbeale.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/so-what-is-a-works-council-anyway/

  • Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    That WSJ story doesn't bother me. In a lot of parts of rural Michigan, we have too many roads and it mainly just benefits exurbanization to have them paved. Farms don't really need paved roads, people who want to commute to the nearby city do, or are more likely to think that they do.

    Uh-huh. And do you have too many bridges that you let them fall down from not paying for necessary and scheduled maintenance?

  • PiatoR: Well…there is infrastructure, then there is a The Bridge to Nowhere situation. I agree with the commenter…there are rural areas which may not need so many paved and expensive roads so faux rural city folks can drive the BMW on smooth pavement.

    On the other hand, when I bicycle around Sonoma County, it is appalling the epic mansions and country estates all front on horrific pothole-strewn goat tracks. California roads in general may be meidocre, but Sonoma County seems to exemplify private wealth and public poverty.

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