Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Coming For Us

Can you feel it?

There's tension in the earth. It's not like the immediate sense that it's about to rain. It's more than that. It's been building for a long time. It's hard to know where to start with this. It's hard to know where the line is between just the ebbs and flows of life, and the beginning of something that feels ominous. It's hard to pinpoint when it began, for me anyway. Maybe just knowing what's happening to the oceans is enough to trip my imagination into thinking that we're building up to something really ugly. Even without obvious problems like the death of coral reefs and ocean acidification, I feel tension. It's as though a large bass string is being slowly stretched by a cosmic finger, and when it's finally plucked we're all gonna get it. The trillion pound shithammer will come down and that will be it.

I can only speculate about the US, and really only about what I've seen in California and the West, and a few states back east, but I think we are into a societal case of terminal bloat.

We drive huge vehicles... alone.

We ride huge motorcycles.

We have families with no more than about 2.33 kids living in McMansions that would comfortable hold families of 8.

We eat enormous servings of food that offer next to nothing nutritionally, or at best layer on so much fat and sodium and processed sugar that the vitamins and proteins and needed carbohydrates are drowned in a miasma of ill health on a plate. Make that two plates.

I have to say I'd love to have a British sports car in my garage that I could take out on the weekends and drive through the East Bay Hills. I'd love to have a couple of more rooms in the house, with a bigger yard, and we only have 2 kids. The .33rd kid just ain't gonna happen. It'd be great to have a library to which I can retreat to read or play my pipes. On the other hand, I fear The Bloat. If we had more, we'd have to look after it. If we had more we'd consume more, we'd pollute more, and I am nearly certain I would not experience less tension day to day. I know I would still feel the tension that is building. The Bloat is responsible for the tension. We are becoming a societal Mr. Creosote.

At some point The Explosion will occur. There will be nothing left. The thought makes me want to live as though we are on a small ocean going boat, with minimal gadgets, everything lashed down but ready to use, food supplies and water supplies properly stowed, everything electrical solar powered, and no Irish pennants flapping in the breeze. The urge is to flee, but where would we go?

I suppose I could just be cool and philosophical about it all and drawl knowingly about cycles of existence and so forth, but fuck that. I am in it. I am part of it. I am leaving my footprint too and it's too deep. There are days when I feel calm and cool, days when I get weird and vengeful and annoyed, days when I feel oppressed by all of it. What is it that makes everyone so rabid about having things, having them first, getting there first? Why do drivers on the freeway suddenly step on the gas if they see you are about to change into their lane ahead of them? There's always someone ahead of them? What difference does it make? Why do they tailgate you for miles when they could pass you on either side, whenever they want?

That's the metaphor for what's happened to us. There are so many of us, at least in CA, that we are compelled to chew on each other. We drive each other into the dirt and we don't even know why. Hunter Thompson wrote back in 1971 that Americans go out on the highway and drive themselves to death in huge cars. Our whole style of liviing is that huge car, and we're just stepping on it and the Devil take the hindmost.

Happy Summer!


Blogger Don said...


4:29 PM  

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