Slightly Off Center: Time to stay home

July 3, 2008

Dennis Hinkamp

Why use the car when your brain takes no gas at all?
by Dennis Hinkamp
It’s time to stay home for the economy, sanity, ecology, intimacy, conservation, civilization, inflation, salvation, gestation and elation. You’ll save time, money and energy. Embrace the here and now, especially the here. Let the army see the world. How are we ever going to truly enjoy homeland security if we don’t stay home?

Really, it’s a great time to plan a fun-filled vacation to nowhere. It’s the ultimate extension of the buy local, eat local movement; we need to start traveling local. Let’s all stay here together and take the yokel out of local.

I’ve been a long-time advocate of environmentalism through inaction. Or, as I like to call it, the Heisenberg Principle (sometimes called the “observer effect”) of Environmentalism. The simple act of observing endangered species endangers them. It’s getting hard to tell if Al Gore is responsible for more carbon emissions with all his travel than he has saved. If you drive a Prius, you are still driving. If you go on an eco-tour, you are still burning fossil fuel of some sort. Salvation sometimes lies in standing still; the revolution begins with one step backwards.

There is no good reason to go anywhere with gas at $4 a gallon, the dollar embarrassingly lower than the Canadian loonie and airline travel resembling an overstuffed school bus full of people heading for fat and angry camp. Just stay home. Nothing really good can happen by leaving your own zip code.

Let’s use all this wonderful technology we have to see the world for a while. We have email, text messaging, cell phones, video conferencing, chat lines, 12,000 television stations and a couple million radio stations, and we still end up driving and flying all over the place just for diversion.

Heck, I just saw Mars on my computer and television today. I’m not going to complain about the high price of rocket fuel and lack of affordable coach seating to Mars. I’m just going to enjoy Mars in the only way I can right now. Of course Mars is so far away that it doesn’t even have a zip code, but maybe we need to start acting that way about London, New York, Chicago, Denver. We need to keep scaling it back until Brigham City is a big trip. Just think how much energy we could save if we looked at photos of Moab instead of going there.

We don’t have to give up travel forever, just sit back until things balance out a little more. As the dollar continues to sink faster than a Bass Master fishing lure, the rest of the world will start to come to visit us. We’ll be overrun by interesting looking people with funny accents, negating the need to travel anywhere ourselves.

Dennis Hinkamp suggests going on a vacation of the mind. Going out of your mind just wastes time and energy.