Holes

and i can hear the distant thunder
of a million unheard souls
of a million unheard souls
watch each one reach for creature comforts
for the filling of their holes
for the filling of their holes

—Peter Gabriel

The phone rang; friend S—; calling from his car.

I believe there is probably a law against that now: phoning and driving. But S—, like most those in my karass, has never been about laws.

He was reporting in upon returning from two weeks in Costa Rica. He had stayed throughout that time in his wife’s village, which has oopsonly a tenuous connection to the modern world.

He was having difficulty readjusting. To life in the fast lane.

His narrative was punctuated by periodic outbursts involving his fellow motorists. All of whom he denounced as “maniacs,” and who seemed to be about, in some unconscious but infuriating way, menacing his life.

He said that one day, back there in the village, he saw two of his wife’s uncles walking down the street, hand in hand. And they looked like they were in the grips of some sublime drug experience. Except they weren’t on anything at all.

He said the people in the village basically involve themselves in eating, sleeping, making love, and being with friends and family. And that’s about it.

They seem much happier in it, he said. Healthier, too. Physically and mentally.

In trying to come up with some Reason in favor of a life of phoning while driving, he said: “Of course, up here I don’t have to worry about the lights flickering on and off. And when I drive to the store, I don’t have to worry about the car falling into some hole.”

Well . . . hold up there, hoss.

According to retiring Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood, “America is one big pothole right now.”

LaHood laments that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is merrily taking out the nation’s roads, because teabaggers in Congress refuse to spend money on anything that doesn’t involve killing or deporting brown people, or furthering the holy mission of Occupy Womb Street.

“At one time we were the leader in infrastructure,” he said. “We built the interstate system. It’s the best road system in the world, and we’re proud of it. But we’re falling way behind other countries, because we have not made the investments.”

“Investments” means taxes. And, as is well known, increasing taxes is about as popular these days hole huntingamong ‘Muricans as moving Chester the Molester into Little Johnny’s bedroom.
And so the nations’s roads and bridges and such are devolving to that state described in the second act of Earth Abides, after time and nature had had their way with them, through some twenty years or so of human inattention. When, basically, you needed a reinforced jeep, many shovels, and a serious winch, to get anywhere at all.
And now there is this scarifying phenomenon known as “sinkholes.” A menace I have just recently become acquainted with. Upon a massive sinkhole opening up under a house in Florida, and swallowing a man in his bed.
Apparently Florida is “geologically unstable.” Consisting, in the main, of porous limestone, which is a “weakly soluble mineral formed from calcified deposits of sea creatures.”
These sea creatures, they do not want stuff built on them. Because humans persist in building stuff on them anyway, the limestone gets Sad, and sighs into Holes.
And this Sighing is occurring with increasing frequency. It is said that Florida insurers received 24,671 claims for sinkhole damage between 2006 and 2010 alone. That’s an average of nearly 17 claims a day.
This means that at least 17 sinkholes pepper the Floridian earth every 24 hours.
Generally, when a person walks the earth, they do so in the knowledge that there is no real chance the earth will collapse beneath their feet.
This is apparently no longer true. At least in Florida.
And, as we know from Election Day 2000: as Florida goes, so goes the nation.
You know, one of the reasons I eschew boats and aircraft, is light holesbecause air and water are not natural elements for human beings. Humans are designed to breathe air, and walk on the earth.
Bad enough, that for many decades now humans have persisted in putting earth in the air. But now, in building stuff where the earth doesn’t want stuff to go, the earth is just giving up, and collapsing into holes.
And so, every step you take, may be your last.
Into the hole you go.
There are a lot of holes, in the modern world.
Humans, I think, are beginning to know just how many holes it takes to fill their Albert Halls.
i read the news today oh boy
four thousand holes in blackburn lancashire
and though the holes were rather small
they had to count them all
now they know how many holes it takes to fill the albert hall
i’d love to turn you on

—John Lennon
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12 Responses to “Holes”


  1. 1 Miep O'Brien March 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    “Earth Abides” is such a wonderful novel. That might be the first post-apocalyptic science fiction novel ever written.

  2. 4 Alexa March 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    they just started annual Strawberry Festival in Plant City (better than any fair, Blake Shelton, yum). apparently the sink hole that swallowed the poor guy in Seffner (next town over) was caused by irrigation of 100 TONS of water a day for the strawberries. now, i love strawberry pie, but ain’t nuthin’ worth that.

    • 5 bluenred March 5, 2013 at 8:16 am

      Jeebus. 100 tons of water? Just how many strawberries are they watering, anyway? I’ve grown strawberries, and sure, they like a little water, every now and again, but I can’t imagine leaving the hose on until some 100 tons flows out. : /

      • 6 alexadiaz27 March 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        strawberries and oranges are Florida’s biggest income next to tourism. in the winter months, no expense (and evidently, no amount of water) is spared to protect the strawberries. when i lived in Tampa there were tent cities of strawberries.

        • 7 bluenred March 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm

          I like the picture of little tent cities of strawberries. With little strawberry Woody Guthries strolling about serenading the folks. ; )

  3. 10 alexadiaz27 March 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    oh hell yes!

    • 11 Alexa March 26, 2013 at 12:49 am

      i wrote about Kanye here. could write more. matter f fact, i have something i promised Vern, the guy who called me a genius on YouTube, due in a couple days.

      in recent months, i’m fascinated with Kanye West. only t’ing iz: i doan theenk JOO or joor readers ‘specially wan’ me goin’ on an’ on, talkin dat talk, muchacho.

      ultimately anything on the Brilliance (yes, Brilliance of Ye) points back to Jay-Z, and i’m mad @Jay over gun lyrics (though i get it this is how he “slings dough” – it’s exactly what his hardcore fans want and expect.)

      i told you about my visit to Plant City via Seffner Monday. wanted to send you some pics of the new sink hole but couldn’t get within 0.5 mile of it.

      • 12 bluenred March 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm

        I’m glad you couldn’t get within 0.5 mile of it. One should no more get close to a sinkhole than to those ship-pits in The War of the Worlds. ; 0


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