A few years ago, I had this boyfriend who dreamed of going to the moon. It wasn’t really an active dream, as he was doing nothing whatsoever to pursue it. He would just mention it every now and then, thinking he hadn’t told me about it yet. It seemed to haunt him though, and it came up a lot in our short romance.
Whenever the moon came up in conversation, he’d look off into the distance and, in a tone which almost sounded hurt, say something like, “If someone told me I could go to the moon, but that it would be a one way trip, and I’d never come home again, I’d do it. Just to be there once.”
I thought it was silly, and alarming, at the time. How could you leave everything you know and love for something as trivial as Zero G, and a whole lot of monotonous rock? He, who was so potent, and young, and who had so much to live for. What could the moon possibly hold to take him away from all of that? That could take him away from me?
I think I finally understand his “give everything up for it” kind of dream; I now have one of my own. Although I must say, I find it much more compelling than something so trivial as a visit to the moon.
I try not to pine for things which are impossible, as my dream very much is; there are far too many things which are tangible to focus on. But now and then, I let myself slip into it.
I’d give up my body, my self, all the knowledge I possess for it. I frequently find myself wishing I were there, wondering if there’s any way I could conjure myself up a substitute for it in modern day time. Knowing that, given the advance of technology, and economy, and the current political state of California, there’s virtually no way of recreating that era.
I’d work with the crane crew in Enniss’ golden age. I’d be doing the ironworks; fabricating beams, stairs, plates, all kinds of things. And then, I’d ride with the crew to LA and set it up. We would be doing building after building, cell phone towers galore, torching up the worlds biggest helium tank…
I hear so many stories of that age; from my grandfather, from Uncle Wade, from Jimmy, from Russ, from Uncle Chad. It’s a world I escape into sometimes. Imagining what it was like is my guilty pleasure; it gives me an incredible high, but at the same time, I know those days are gone, and I end my nostalgia for their experiences with a sadness of my own.
Even if I’d been born 7 years earlier, I could have been on the tail end of it.
Why that age passed, there isn’t really a clear answer for. Grandad shrunk the business down from about 200 employees down to 1/2 of that at one point, simply because the business wasn’t as efficient, or as profitable, with that many employees. Of course we can blame the economy, as seems to be the trend these days, but I find that to be a bad excuse; there are many construction companies which pulled thru the down-turn. And besides, we sold off the crane division in 2001, far before the recessions. The selling of the cranes is a clear turning point.
To be continued…
I’ve been wanting to start a blog for awhile now, to chronicle my experience with Open Source Ecology. I plan on using this blog both as a log to track my progress on the projects I do for OSE, and as a personal blog, to show what life on the battle field is like.
However, first things first, I’ll explain why this means so much to me, and why I’m willing to give so much to see this project succeed. I’ll start with a little story.
Today, I spent the afternoon as many afternoons in the past years have been spent: in discussion with my grandfather.
Our visits are generally rather formulaic: they begin with me strolling unexpected into his office and asking for his advice on whichever project I happen to be working on. Sometimes he answers my questions. Sometimes, he ends up asking the questions and I end up playing teacher. Sometimes, I play the fool. If I’m lucky, he’ll say that sentence I’m always searching for from him: “Well, that’s great, Honey!”
Inevitably, the conversation leads to him bragging to me. But bragging isn’t the right word. Bragging is what children do when they are trying to make themselves seem impressive. My grandfather simply speaks of the unlikely and wonderful things he’s accomplished, in a matter-of-fact tone which would suggest that these accomplishments are really nothing out of the ordinary. I can tell, though, that he’s very proud of himself, and that he is telling me these things to impress me, because I understand and appreciate them, as few of his grandchildren do. He tells me stories of all of the unique and bizarre construction jobs he’s gotten throughout the years. Stories of unlikely characters he’s met, of disasters averted, of creative solutions, of innovation, of wild, undreamt-of success. I listen, dumbstruck, wondering at my fortune of having descended from a man like him, and hoping I can live up to a man of his aptitude and morality.
Sometimes, I leave his office optimistic, and with incredible clarity; in my grandfathers presence, anything is possible. Man is most certainly the master of his surroundings, and the world is a playplace for him to build up. The world seems so simple and wonderful.
Yet other times, I leave nearly in tears. Today, that was the case. All was well initially; we discussed my Ironworker design for OSE, and I asked his opinion on a certain concrete mixer. He told me about how he was the first builder in Southern CA to make a quick attach bucket for his backhoe. At the time these were unheard of. They have since spread everywhere. He told me a story about how he nearly tipped his first 100 ton crane. All was well indeed.
Yet, as I was leaving, the sorrow hit, as it often does. Men like him are a dying breed, suffocating under our oppressive government. There is no place for them in the place our country, our world, is becoming. There is no place for a company like Enniss Enterprises was. No place for that carefree expansion. No place for the “I can build anything” attitude.
At one point in my life, my lifes mission was to rebuild the business, to “return it to its former splendor.” Somewhere along the way, I realized this was no longer possible. Sure, there are still people building out there. Every time I drive through downtown, I see at least 6 tower cranes. I could probably gather enough stamina for the company to become one of those builders again. But they are building for a world in which I want no part of: a world in which one must ask permission to produce. A world in which a piece of ill-conceived text can shut down an entire fleet of trucks.
So now we get to the point of my story: why I’m working for OSE.
I am working for men like my grandfather.
I am working for their world. A world in which men are free to create and build and breathe without asking permission. A world where a mans success depends on the merit of his product. Where men stand on their own words and their own two feet and fail or succeed accordingly.
I’m fighting for a world in which there is a tomorrow. The world in which I don’t have to worry about legislators stealing everything I have ever worked for.
I am working for America as it used to be; a land of limitless opportunity.
OSE is the only way I see how. It is the only way I see to make myself independent of mainstream society, and to free myself from Uncle Sam. It is the only way to return my life to my own posession. I don’t know if OSE will succeed, but I know I will give everything I can to see it do so.