Archive for December, 2011

Rats’ nest

December 20, 2011

Four years ago I slowly became aware that my socks were vanishing. At first I assumed it was my own messiness, and I was just losing track, but it kept happening and I became more observant. One morning I was certain: I was missing a pair of socks I was sure I had stuffed in my running shoes the night before.

Then I realized there were rats in the house, and I speculated that the rats might be building a nest out of my old sweaty socks (and bathing suit, and…). Today I found that nest. I was disassembling my bookcases, and under the base of one I found a pile of socks.

A very large pile of socks. It’s about a foot deep, and 2’8″ wide and 2″ tall. There’s a bathing suit there too. And a package of wrapping paper, and lots of torn up shreds of something.

Well, I’m glad to have found my socks at last. I suppose I better wash them before I use them again.


Dulce Domum

December 18, 2011

My home is going, Dave. I can feel it.

I have lived here for almost twenty years, longer than anywhere else, even my childhood home, and now I must move.

When my mother first saw my apartment she told me I should leave at once; it was so damp I’d get sick. But I didn’t. It was home.

Leaving would not be so bad, perhaps, if I could move my things from one home to the next, but my new home isn’t ready yet and all my stuff must go to storage.

Every day I move a little bit more into an inhuman warehouse.

I don’t live here any more

I suppose that is a good idea, but now the denuded apartment feels very unfriendly. It isn’t a home any more.

It feels that I’m slowly tearing up my life and replacing it with — well — nothing.

First the books went. Books are easy to pack, nice sturdy rectangular blocks, so a good way to start. Then the pottery, pottery is more trying, each piece must be individually wrapped to avoid breakage. I have a lot of pots.

Each object is examined and evaluated. Is this worth keeping? Would Goodwill like it? Dare I give that to the Empty Bowl or is it too ugly? Can I recycle it?

Some pieces have memories. She gave that to me. Should I keep it even if I never use it just to remember her? Do I want to remember her?

I feel I am evaluating my past, my life.

I search for an ounce of meaning in the hundredweights of boxes I have packed. I have no accomplishments of value, no children, no lover. The world is doomed by climate change and the gospel truth is a lie. Camus said to laugh at meaning and claimed to be satisfied by “cries of hate”, but I haven’t his fortitude. Voltaire tells me it is necessary to pack my boxes, and that I can do.

If I have regrets, then I’m not working hard enough, I suppose.


Against cupidity…

December 11, 2011

Last month two climate change articles caught my eye. The first was that the 2010 growth in carbon output was beyond the worst case estimates of the IPCC (in spite of the recession). Sadly this isn’t unexpected. The IPCC has consistently underestimated the severity of the problem we are facing. And it had happened again.

The second story was more frightening. The International Energy Agency pointed out that if we continued building high-carbon infrastructure at the rate we are going then by 2017 the expected carbon output of that infrastructure over its lifetime will force a temperature rise of more that 2°C. So if we don’t do something major in the next 5 years then we will have lost any chance of retaining our ecosystem.

And COP 17 at Durban has agreed to — nothing before 2020.

They agreed that in 2015 we’d have a legally binding treaty. But we’ve been here before. In Bali in 2007 (COP13) the world agreed that they’d have a legally binding treaty in 2009 (Copenhagen, COP15). It didn’t work then.

Politicians are used to compromise. Science doesn’t. You can’t argue with gravity and make a ball drop more slowly. Our leaders don’t seem to grasp that.

The argument over whether a future treaty should be “legally binding”, a “legal outcome” or “an agreed outcome with legal force” is silly. We need massive reductions in emissions. Now.