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October 13th, 2019

The Big Top

Two of my children live in Japan, and one--known in this journal as Little Springtime--was directly in the path of what the Japanese call Typhoon 19 and what in the United States is called Typhoon Hagibis. Little Springtime lives in the flood plain of the Sumida river, which they were saying could flood to 5 meters. She and her girlfriend were assiduously thorough in their emergency preparation and took shelter on the second floor of their house, as advised, and kept the TV on to hear if their ward was going to order an evacuation. I waited all through Saturday day--their Saturday night--to find out how they weathered it. And they were fine! And their house was fine!

I'm very, very relieved.

"This experience has made me feel like I want way less stuff," Little Springtime said, and that dovetailed with something I'd been thinking: that in this age we live in, where our homes are assaulted by hurricanes and tornadoes and fires and floods, maybe we ought to have our concept of house be a much, much less permanent (and less expensive) thing. Maybe freestanding houses should be something quickly assembleable and deconstructable , and apartment buildings should be earthquake resistant armatures, with the individual units, like freestanding houses, something you can easily put up in the armature. And these things would cost very little--much less than cars cost. If they're destroyed in a storm, it's no biggie; you replace them. And they wouldn't last long--maybe five years, and then you'd have to replace them (assuming a natural disaster didn't destroy them first).

They'd be kind of like the Laurie Anderson song "Big Top."

When Buckminster Fuller came to Canada
He kept asking the same question
Have you ever really considered how much your buildings actually weigh?
….

He showed them pictures of domed cities
Cities with no basements
No foundations
Cities that could be moved in a minute
Portable cities
Portable towns


He said think of it as camping out
He said think of it as one big tent
He said think of it as the big top
Spinning
Lightweight
Portable


And what of personal belongs? Well like Little Springtime says, we'd want way, way less of them--or way less that we're emotionally attached to. I was imagining into existence big spheres, like exercise balls, into which you could put your very special items when a disaster is coming. It would have your contact information on it, be watertight and fireproof, and openable only by you or trusted others. If it got blown away or carried away by water, no worries--after the disaster you could recover it, open it, and there would be your treasures.

... What do you think?

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/919959.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

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