"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

Nearing the End

07:27 Friday, 20 December 2019

Someone, I don't recall who, brought Ursula K. Le Guin's No Time to Spare to my attention not too long ago. I'd like to thank whoever it was, because it's delightful. I was sad to learn she passed away almost a year ago. I bought the book back in October, but only sat down to read it this week. It's a collection of blog posts, so it doesn't require you to read it from cover to cover all at once. The posts seem grouped thematically, which I suppose is probably mentioned in the Introduction or Preface or something. I don't recall because I just skimmed it before I started in on the posts themselves.

The beginning is a few meditations on aging, including the origin of the book's title. Although I'm still almost two decades away from Going Over Eighty (the title of Part 1), everything she wrote still resonated with me. Partly because of witnessing my parents' experience, and partly because of my own experience of the inevitable and relentless toll of time. Don't be mistaken, I'm still in pretty good health, but things just ain't what they used to be! And that's okay. We will surrender gracefully, if reluctantly, all that must be given in the course of our days. Or maybe we'll just bitch about it, who knows. Stay tuned.

The next part is about her cat, and that was risky because I like cats, and I don't think Mitzi does. I really enjoyed her stories, and they brought to mind fond memories of my own. I don't think I'll ever have another cat in my life, but you never know. I've had five as an adult, and they all just sort of walked into my life, I never went looking for them.

And that's about as far as I got yesterday! Which is fine. We've got our bookshelves up now, and all of my books are out of boxes, finally. I spent a little time with some of them after I got them all out. I reached for Eric Hoffer and Hannah Arendt because of the time we're in, and while I'll say they didn't offer much in the way of comfort, I did enjoy their company. Mitzi's in the process of identifying the appropriate furniture to go in the "sun room." I'm arguing for a couple of upholstered chairs, she seems to favor a couch but I think I'm winning her over.

It's been a hell of a week, hasn't it? Trump's impeachment is historic, but also down here in Jacksonville, we've had a good deal of our own excitement. Jacksonville has its own public electric and water utility, the eighth largest in the country and over a century old. Some people have been eyeing it for privatization, (or, as they've been calling it, a "recapitalization event"). This would yield a windfall of cash for the city, and how that money would be spent would be strongly influenced by the mayor of Jacksonville.

Well, the whole effort was never undertaken in good faith. A false narrative was created about the enormous challenges electric utilities face with declining revenues from rooftop solar and more energy efficient homes and appliances. Ostensibly, the utility was doing a "strategic study" to identify the best way to meet these future challenges. But the reality was that they were driving relentlessly toward getting an offer that was too good to refuse. No other options were being seriously considered or offered for public review.

Fortunately, the local paper The Florida Times-Union, has been doing an absolutely outstanding job of uncovering all the perfidy and duplicity taking place. And it looks as though they may have prevented an outright theft from the people of Jacksonville. I'm not a resident of Jacksonville, but I'm a customer of JEA (Jacksonville Electric Authority) for my water and sewer services. It's not as though Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and his allies could actually "steal" JEA and profit from it. But they were robbing the citizens of Jacksonville of the opportunity to make their own informed choices regarding the future of their public utility. It was a dirty deal, and a competent, aggressive press seems to have brought it to a halt, at least for now. But it has been very exciting to witness.

Well, that's probably enough for now. Le Guin has kind of inspired me to spend a little more time here, so maybe you'll be hearing more from me in the year ahead. For now, my friends, the end is near. The end of 2019 anyway, and good riddance! And certainly the end of this post! If you don't hear from me again soon, my very  best wishes for a happy, safe, sane, and humane holiday season!