I said in my last essay that it could get worse. A couple days later I came down with Covid, which was a singularly unpleasant experience. It hit me really hard for two solid weeks and left me with strange after-effects that remain unresolved now a week and half later. I managed to avoid it for three and half years, which feels like a pretty good run. Missing all the previous waves wasn't accident or chance, it was prevention. I took a whole lot of precautions. And I'm sure glad I did.
Just like when my partner and I bought our house. We did one of the things you're supposed to do and got a home inspection. As is common, the result was a mile-long list of things that should be addressed with varying degrees of urgency. One prominent issue was the plumbing, which was all CPVC installed in 1994 when the house was built. At the time of our inspection it was all intact and there didn't seem to be any leaks. Unfortunately, CPVC becomes notoriously brittle over time and breaks for seemingly no reason and without warning.
Rather than move in, get settled, and find a leak later (after it had gone unnoticed for long enough to cause other problems), we decided to do some prevention. You can't really connect any other type of pipe to CPVC because the connections are its weakest point, so we hired a plumber to replace all the plumbing in the whole house. We prepared for the plumbers to do their work by removing the bathroom vanity and a section of the kitchen counter. Behind which we found... evidence of leaks! So like a lot of home repair projects, once we began to address the initial issue we found plenty of other things needing attention. So we worked through everything we could with the time and budget we had available and moved into a much healthier place to live.
In the case of our house, our instinct for prevention paid off. I wish we could enjoy equally fortuitous timing on a grander scale and prevent some future societal disasters. Unfortunately we are not in the practice of employing so much prevention as a collective. We tend to wait until disaster strikes. Then we rally the resources and find the funds, whether the disaster occurred at home or across the world. When the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria in February, President Biden called for Congress to authorize millions of dollars in aid. And rightly so, those people needed all the help everyone in the global community could muster.
Just in the last week there were major floods in Libya and a massive earthquake in Morocco. Every time a natural disaster happens I wonder: what if we had collectively spent those gobs and gobs of money on disaster preparedness instead? What if we had invested ahead of time even part of the money we always manage to scrape together once emergency strikes? I bet it would cost less than recovery. But when budgets are put together, proposed, and passed there never seems to be enough available to allocate to prevention.
Undoubtedly some of that stems from the extreme length of the long long list of things that need to be addressed. It's no secret infrastructure in the US is failing. Many bridges are near collapse, the water systems and the electrical grid can't keep up with the demands of modern populations. Our ancient rail lines are in need of a major overhaul. Anywhere you look you can find something crumbling.
Beyond the practical challenges, it also comes down to deserving. Everyone seems to agree that people experiencing a disaster deserve help. What about the disaster of being born into poverty? We’ve got to sort out that particular mental & emotional conundrum. Otherwise it doesn’t matter what economic system we have or which form of government, we’re going to end up back in the same place we are right now. With some people or some sets of circumstance more highly valued than others for no other reason than that’s what someone decided and what we all keep agreeing to. We can definitely do better.
Information and Inspiration
Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.