April 14, 2018

The time is 2:10pm. Today was ditch cleaning day. i love ditch cleaning day. Part of the reason i love ditch cleaning day is that i get to meet all of the neighbors that i normally only see in passing on the street. people are so very reclusive these days. there used to be a point in time where you really needed to rely on your neighbors for things, but that time has passed, at least in this neighborhood. These houses are so spread out and people are so standoffish that is something went wrong or if i ever needed help doing something i would never think of my neighbor as someone who would help. ive lived next to these people for a decade and I know almost nothing about them, the only things i really know are the things that ive heard from other neighbors when gossiping on ditch cleaning day. lol. 

But back to what i was saying, DCD is an extremely interesting event for me, its like an entire economic system on a very personal level. Heres the premise, we have a ditch in our neighborhood that potentially benefits everyone who takes part in it. water rights from this ditch are granted to property owners and you can lease these out or buy extra shares. but there are restrictions, you cant have more than two shares and every year you have to participate in dcd or pay a small fee if you decide to abstain. you also have to pay an annual fee for the water rights. the water rights are basically nothing, $43 a year for 8 hours a week of all the water you can handle. thats pretty good especially if you have some way of capturing it and storing it (a large tank, water feature, pond, whatever) the fee to skip dcd is $75. but this is per house and not per share, and there are no rules as to how many people or the amount of time that one needs to put into ditch cleaning. Most if not all of these people are well of upper middle class citizens. they might claim to be broke but they aren't. each one of these homes sits on an acre of mainly unused land and the average price of homes in this neighborhood is somewhere around $600,000. they aren't starving. so the $75 to avoid manual labor on a saturday afternoon would seem a no brainer.

But there are interesting things that i observed throughout the day. Surprisingly the attrition rate for dcd is very high. like 40%. people will show up, sign in, and after about 30 minutes they will disappear. Is the shame so distant that they see no problem in this behavior. this has become such a problem in recent years that people are "required" to both sign in, and sign out. But make no mistake about it, people who don't sign out are never charged a fee or even approached by anyone concerning their apparent ditching of the ditch. This too is suppose to act as a kind of self policing deterrent. Its also interesting to note that there are some people on the ditch that will do almost unthinkable things with the system once the water runs through their yard. they will create intricate irrigation diversion systems with complete disregard for anyone down stream of them. See the ditch runs through all of the members yard, and when its your "time" for water you ideally should have access to all of the water running in the ditch (saver for the obvious uncontrollable factors). but some people drain the ditch into reservoirs that you simply cannot stop the water from being diverted to. So until their tank or whatever gets filled up, whether its their watering time or not, no one else downstream gets any water, period.

Also Ive noticed that there are some people who have drainage connecting to their ditch, lord knows the origin of that water, so essentially they are putting their wastewater (granted its probably from some sort of drain pipe or garden drainage system) into the ditch water. That doesn't seem appropriate. No one cares, its simply not worth the headache of trying to fight with their neighbors, no one watch to have an uncomfortable altercation with someone they live close to, weather its for fear of retribution or just desire to avoid any sort of displeasurable interaction with another human being. I hate to admit it but i'm totally in that category.

The thing that really impresses me is that some people can be so incredibly selfish and almost completely without a sense of shame. I don't know if these people are doing these things because they think that its only making a small difference in the overall supply of a resource and that it might not have any significant impact on others directly or if they are just so selfish that they place their wants and desires at above others regardless of anything else. But i started to realize that i could never uncover these peoples actual intentions, and they might vary but its irrelevant. The fact that they are exploiting the weakness of this system is exactly why a socialist system can never really work. This system is set up so that system exploits are readily available for anyone to take. Most of the people play by the rules and are conscientious of the needs and rights of others, but the fact that there are some people who aren't ruins it for the rest of the community. They might never see it directly impact their share of resources, at least not in a way that they can pinpoint or that they might even notice. But that isn't the point.

If given the choice to be honest or to take advantage of others people will take advantage of others, and over time it builds a significant amount of resentment, but people are sill not willing to put others on the spot, to go over to their house and exclaim that they have been wronged, because these people aren't wronging them directly, they are wronging the community, and no one is willing to speak up on behalf of the community . because they feel its not their place, or maybe they don't know if they have the support of everyone in the community, which they likely don't. Some people just don't care that much if others take advantage of a system of which they have a vested interest in, they are willing to carry others who are shamelessly exploiting them. And the wrongdoer benefits for his selfish actions. Others work less hard because of the system imbalance. Can you blame the guy who leaves early on dcd, at least he showed up, its better to leave early than to fuck the rest of the community by diverting water. Anyways, ditch cleaning day has taught be alot about people, and social and political structures. I love ditch cleaning day. see you next year. The time is 2:50pm