Saturday, August 8, 2009

Seasteading, Bus-Riding, and a Pedestrian Thought

At last night’s seasteading meet-up and the previous night’s speech on the topic, I thought the most reassuring phrase used was “cruise ship,” since that’s a model for cityscale floating life that most people — even the elderly — can get onboard with, so to speak (and speaking of the elderly, remember I’m celebrating my fortieth birthday tomorrow at Doc Watson’s at 11:30am, if you’re interested in brunch or a very early drink).

I took a less glamorous but highly useful means of travel, the Vamoose bus, to go from DC to NYC this past Sunday, and after they moved us onto a second bus mid-trip due to mechanical problems, I was surprised to find the occupants in the second bus in the midst of watching (and hearing, without any headphones being necessary) the recent movie Crossing Over (about border police and immigration issues), complete with swearing, racial conflict, multiple convincingly-depicted deaths-by-headshot, and all-but-genitals sex (followed abruptly by deaths-by-headshot).

Unless we were interlopers on a bus full of people who (unlike us) had been forewarned about the graphic entertainment, that was a strange thing to foist on one’s passengers. Luckily, I was able to use my powers of social atomism to hunker down in a book about property rights in America called In Pursuit of Happiness while listening to my iPod. Bus-borne society will have to fend for itself.

But if one wanted to simply walk between cities, I wonder, how difficult would that be to do nowadays? I mean, assuming you didn’t care about the time spent or the provisions needed, could it even be done without having to race across a highway on foot at some point? Can you simply walk, with at least as much comfort as a hiker in the woods feels, from, say, New York City to Boston in 2009 without at some point having someone scream “Get offa da off-ramp, ya stupid idiot!”? How complete is the grid?

One last thing about the seasteading speech: There were people in attendance from Sealand, the offshore platform near England that declared itself a sovereign nation decades ago amid squabbles with the British government over pirate radio broadcasts (those squabbles being the topic of this month’s the November movie The Boat That Rocked, which I may have to see despite being warned that it transposes political parties to make Tory pols look like the only ones who wanted to shut down pirate radio — can’t have leftists and Labour looking authoritarian, after all — might confuse the kids!). I just love that these things are all connected.

1 comment:

Jake said...

The grid is quite complete, at least in the East. If you wanted to walk to Libby, MT you might find yourself on state highways toward the end of your walk. Google maps has a feature to get directions on foot, so, for example, if you walked from E 78th St to 02465 it would take you 2 days and 18 hours of walking time to follow their 110 turns covering the 200 miles. Time for a midlife quest to find the real America, on foot?