Sunday, October 23

Elizabeth continues to study for the GRE. I continue to waffle on the entire issue of grad school. Outside it gets colder. Yesterday I wandered the property where we rent and discovered many things - cacti, a lagoon surrounded by aspens, large piles of rock, prairie dogs.

The people upstairs have indicated that the owner doesn't really pay attention to things here, let alone pay for their upkeep. The driveway needs a load of gravel and I'm afraid to light a fire in the stove because the pipe is at least 15 degrees off plumb and probably hasn't been cleaned in a decade. Sooner or later the washing machine is going to rattle its way through the flimsy wall into our bedroom closet. Yet I suspect we all quietly prefer the hands-off attitude. If I'm going to have a landlord I'd rather not know about it very often, and I guess I'll clean the stovepipe myself if it means less looking over my shoulder.

Fringe intellectuals used to rant about the reduction of all human relationships to a cash nexus and describe rent as a basically unnatural arrangement. Time to time, I'm inclined to think they were right. I can't think of an impulse more widespread than the one to keep us owing in perpetuity on everything from the places we sleep to the songs we sing. Rent seeking behavior is become a chief disease of civilization, right up there with the petroleum economy and various malignancies of Church and State. Funny how the engines sustaining our existence are so often the substance of our discontent.