the hottest day of the summer was yesterday. one of the hottest days i’ve experienced in seattle. a friend and i went down to the crowded beach and lay in the sun right up next to the water. when we ran in the water it was so cold, the waves unexpectedly powerful, pulling currents of heat and cold (or rather freezing and slightly less freezing) against us, and it was wonderful.
it was also the weekend the blue angels were in seattle and the sky would rend occasionally with the sound. the doppler effect perfectly illustrated – the noise is so absolutely directional, but when you look at the source of the noise, what you are looking for isn’t there, but behind a tree already, a building, looping in the sky. terrifying.
they flew over us when we were in the water, flying so low over buildings that catastrophe seems imminent, and i cowered in the water that had a moment ago been refreshing and was suddenly horribly cold, and i was being pushed by waves and shivering.
back on the beach in the sun, suddenly tired, wiped out by the temperature change, my feet regaining feeling, i closed my eyes and thought about evaporation. i thought about it very hard. i wanted right them to rise like steam into the cloudless blue sky and not be anyone or do anything again except be in the light.
the past few weeks it’s seemed that the world is ending. which sadly, rationally, i think that it is – the world as we know it, at least. i felt like this coming back from india, when reverse culture shock was tremendous and i couldn’t seem to cross the uncanny valley into the lifestyle that everyone in america thought was completely normal, and which is so simply impossible…
it feels like acceleration. even between horrific mass murders, the refractory period feels shorter.
i know a lot of this is my own state of mind. pareidolia. a hefty pinch more is reading ray bradbury. i finally have read the illustrated man, and it’s beautiful and eschatological and heartbreaking.
there’s a story that made me sob audibly, current sad sack that i am – The Last Night of the World.
He sat back in his chair, watching her. “Are you afraid?”
“No. I always thought I would be, but I’m not.”
“Where’s that spirit called self-preservation they talk so much about?”
“I don’t know. You don’t get too excited when you feel things are logical. This is logical. Nothing else but this could have happened from the way we’ve lived.”
“We haven’t been too bad, have we?”
“No, nor enormously good. I suppose that’s the trouble – we haven’t been very much of anything except us, while a big part of the world was busy being lots of quite awful things.”
emphasis mine. i don’t know if i agree with everything in this particular passage. the characters speaking are presumably american, and that last sentence is… not exactly an excuse. but it is a way of saying, ‘well, we directly didn’t do what will end the world… we just let it happen. we didn’t police hard enough.’
which isn’t the case. we as a nation have done so much to build the trap our species is now caught in. by using electricity generated by waterpower (damn dams) or coal, a computer made from heavy metals shipped across the ocean, i am building the trap too. it is no longer a very viable option in our society to not be building the trap. living ‘off the grid’ is an option but not a realistic one. and probably not one that will make enough of a difference, this late on. to be horrible and blunt, even suicide exacts an environmental cost – transportation for funerals, burial procedures, etc.
i don’t do well with problems that feel unsolvable, on either the global or personal level.
there was a period tonight when i reached the chemical equilibrium that suddenly made recent events not matter anymore, no longer have a weight in my bones. it’s temporary and already fading. i don’t know how to feel about it. it happens often now that when i look at my reflection or reflect on my life that i’m just bored. sadness is monotonous. we like our sadness to be passionate and tragic, and sometimes it is in glints and flickers. but after a while it’s dull. i’m still stuck on the play i’m writing. i no longer have a source for ready projects with the carrot of them becoming a reality, the stick of someone caring about what i wrote. not that that was always enough. i don’t know what i want to do with my life, if i should be looking for another job, if anything will grab me again as roughly as i need. and this ambivalence is boring! things are only interesting if they are specific, and with the raw exception that erupts sometimes these days and is maybe worse, most of what i feel is a banal generality.
i thought that i was better than this. i thought that i was stronger than this, that i had grown more, and learned more. that somehow i wouldn’t get knocked flat on my ass like i was after the first time, the beginning of freshman year of college, when my first boyfriend broke up with me.
i thought that i’d have more dignity this time.