Thoughts clogged, stagnant, the metal of this laptop uncomfortably warm under my hands. It’s not the heat, I tell myself, or even this impressive humidity the fan is pushing against me, slapping stickily up against my side. Sure it’s 99 or more up here, OK, but still. Isn’t human imagination up to this?
Human imagination is not up to this. When your basic needs at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid of human needs are not met, it’s hard for thoughts to take wing and soar. After a while all you can think about is your thirst, if you’re parched long enough, or your hunger, if you haven’t eaten in a while. That’s part of the hellish trap of poverty, very hard to get to the highest levels of creativity and potential when you’re urgently looking for a place to go to the bathroom without being arrested, or killed.
At noon I was watching a summary of some of the day’s news, news of a world gone mad, in free fall, crowds chanting incoherently. Then I stumbled on a guitar player named Josh Smith, playing the hell out of a guitar, explaining the beautiful things he was doing in a way that made only so much sense. Left out of the explanation were the thousands of hours, and the hunger, to get all that under your fingers, into your playing. Then there was more news about Jeffrey Epstein’s death, new details from his autopsy, apparently. That’s what the teaser for the youTube clip said, with a picture of fucking Bagpiper Bill Barr, firing somebody, or ordering the speedy federal execution of somebody else. Now, I see, it is 3:51, day spent mostly in this chair, and I’m as listless as I was before lunch, a delicious salad.
Imagine the place hotter still. The ice of the great northern ice caps is disappearing at a much faster rate than predicted, shearing off cliffs of melting ice in huge chunks. Mosquitos are now born year-round, thirstier than ever, they have even started sucking on my previously unappetizing flesh, leaving giant, itchy welts where the large veins are closest to the surface. One species after another of the little predators who used to eat the mosquitos are disappearing along with the sheets of ice that shear off ever smaller cliffs of it and splash into the sea to melt. It’s all connected, all this destruction, denial, distraction.
The world does not care, as it all crashes into the sea amid thousands of tons of discarded plastic. Birds choke, seals drown, entire species are wiped out, every fish eats micro-plastic, which becomes part of the flesh we eat when the big fish we like to eat have eaten generations of ever smaller micro-plastic eaters.
My teeth are shifting in my mouth, half of them already sideways and brittle as crystal made of sugar. I think about the world people being born now are going to be living in. I think about the unquestionable, heedless powers that make sure nothing is more important than their unquestionable, heedless powers. I read history, helpless to cause so much as a ripple in its progress.
One day even hotter than this, perhaps, will be the last day for older people like me. Simply too fucking hard to breathe, yo, time to give it all up. Then the arguments over my millions will begin, by the many who will rush forward to make a claim on my fortune. I probably should have put it into writing that it should all be invested in the building of a monument to me, for my perpetual memory, you understand. So that one day cockroaches, the only ones left here on the earth, may wonder “what is this fucking huge thing?”. Insect awe optional.