Sunday, September 14, 2008

Economic masochism

Something ain't right.
I know it's still technically summer, in spite of school schedules and holidays, but it's stifling hot here today.
Early this morning I figured I could get a quick bike ride in. "How bad could it be?" I wondered quietly to myself. It could be 80 degrees and 80 percent humidity. Within minutes I was soaked to the skin and struggling to breathe. Maybe it doesn't affect everyone like that, because I did see a few snakes and lizards crawling around, so I guess there's something wrong with me. Suffice it to say, I cut the ride way short and returned to the relative comfort of home.
Humans are doomed by their freedom. We have opposable thumbs and the ability to choose, so we travel. We choose to live in places like New Orleans, Louisiana; Galveston, Texas and most of Florida where the weather kicks our asses on a regular basis. We put things back the way they were and resume our lives of denial.
Meanwhile, penguins don't venture far from their cold homes. If they could drive, they'd get as far as Bolivia and turn around and head back home. Alligators live where it's hot and wet and birds are smart enough to fly to a place where they are comfortable. Often, I think the animals have the drop on us, intellectually speaking.
There are so many of us that we have to live in places that we wouldn't live in if there were more room or fewer people.
Hurricanes blow through the southeast, snowstorms blanket the north and it's so hot in some places that we couldn't exist without air conditioning and so cold that we need more heat than we can afford. We plow tons of snow and pump water out of our basements just so we can continue to live in these places.
It seems as though sometimes, our quality of life is affected by our ability to live where we choose - even if that choice is outside our ability to control it.
Humans have no natural habitat.
We think we do. We blow conditioned air into our homes and cars, adapt our clothing to our environment and generally trick our bodies into conforming to things to which they probably should not have to conform.
Places like New Orleans are uninhabitable, in my opinion. It takes a levee system and a massive pumping system just to regulate the water that wants to come in under normal circumstances. When something extraordinary happens, it takes years and billions of dollars to get it back where it was so that nature can blow it away again.
"You get used to it," is the answer I get from people in such places where it's either always too hot or too cold. I could get used to having a hot poker up my ass too, but I wouldn't like it any more after the tenth time than I did the first time.
You might be used to it, but it feels better when you stop.

1 comment:

junior alien said...

People are strange, but aren't we all?
Around here, there are some who live very close to the Rhine River. They don't mind the frequent floodings that regularly reach their house up to the top of the first floor. Every time when the flood's coming, they grab all the furniture including the kitchen's and carry it to the second floor. After the flood's gone, they dry and clean everything and move back down to the first floor. In an interview they said that despite the regular floodings, they would never like to live anywhere else because they enjoy living on the Rhine so much.