The most popular post on this blog, by far is called The Dark Side of Burning Man. My favorite comment on this post was “Yeah yeah yeah…burning man sucks, dont go, yadda yadda yadda….sell me yer ticket.” What was lost in this exchange was that this post was the second of two and the first one was all about how important i think Burning Man is as a festival and what it has to teach and offer us as a greater society. The notion that someone can really appreciate something and still be a vocal critic appears hard to grasp to many folks.
So it is with my home community of Twin Oaks. I have written more positive propaganda about Twin Oaks than probably any other single person, except founder Kat Kinkade herself (who wrote two full books that some would consider propaganda). I think the sharing systems at Twin Oaks desperately need to be modeled on a large scale or the world has no chance.
But just like with Burning Man, i am a loud critic of my community, which i want to change and improve. Before you ask for my membership slot at Twin Oaks for being comparatively critical, know that i think this community has very high model value and that proof of my love and appreciation for it, is the amount of time i put into trying to make it be better, but reviewing and addressing the many shortcomings it suffers from.
Winter is a vanishing commodity in central Virginia, but we still get a few cold enough days and snowy enough days that all our vehicles at Twin Oaks get grounded occasionally. This is one of those collective decisions that people outside of community have tremendous trouble rapping their brains around. What this means is we have a fleet of 17 vehicles and when the vehicle crew decides the roads are too slippery, no one can drive any of them until they are ungrounded.
This system is good for keeping our insurance rates down, by reducing winter fender benders and more serious accidents. It is also a way to normalize our range of driving skills. Some members grew up in Wisconsin or Maine and they really know their winter driving stuff. Others need to be trained in how to deal with poor weather, without the training it is not fair to say some experienced drivers can handle the snow and others can not. If we ground the vehicles on the worst weather days, then we do decrease the number of cars which get damaged over the winter.
Acorn does it differently. Several experienced members inform me that Acorn never collectively grounded their own vehicles. Instead (like so many things at Acorn it is a conversation). Ultimately the responsibility is on you to take care of the car and know your own limits. The community pays all your car insurance, and there is a culture of checking to see if a member is going to be okay driving in adverse conditions. And because of the Acorn flexible system, i was able to pull something together at the last minute and make it home in time for Willows Heroes game. Not surprisingly Acorners use a first come first serve car share system and this leaves some slack in the system, which is highly desirable.
Tomorrow the Twin Oaks vehicles will be grounded for an incoming snow storm and i am supposed to drive Hawina to her doctors appointment. I grow up in the Boston burbs and i have driven in some pretty terrible winter storms. i will take her in a borrowed personal car from an Associate member here at Acorn (which mean it can only be used in limited way).
Cross your fingers it does not snow more.