Rainstorms and Apocalypse

26 Jun

I woke up this morning to a thunderstorm.  Another red and yellow paramecium is swimming in green across the weather map toward me.  There was another one yesterday that woke me up at 3 in the morning, causing me to run around the house, closing windows.

There were more last week, and the week before that was The Derecho (which I, with my 8 years of Spanish 20 years ago, got mixed up with “derecha,” so I wondered where “La Izquierda” was). 

Two years ago, a tree nearly fell on my car as I drove through a Severe Thunderstorm while taking my son to day care.  We just finally got the last of the damage to the car fixed. I still carry a little stick with me; part of the foliage that got caught in the front grill, a reminder of how lucky I’d been that day.

At the risk of sounding old, I don’t remember summer being this stormy.  I don’t remember it being this hot, either, but I’m willing to grant my perception was probably a little different when viewed from our carpeted basement where we played Atari games.

Global warming, says my brain.  This volatile weather is a sign of climate change, and it’s only going to get worse.  I had comforted myself that, living where I do, in the middle of the country, far from rising coastlines, hurricanes, and tsunamis, I’d probably be OK.  But, of course, that’s silly.

The hard part is, I feel powerless.  The People in Charge, the ones who have the power to change the laws and actually Do Something, aren’t.  They have profit targets to reach, shareholders to please (who are us), and jobs to protect (their own).  I know; I work for a large company and I can see the pressure people are under to Deliver.

And the Government disappoints us, too.  Red or Blue, do we really trust them?  A conservative friend of mine posted something on her Facebook page about Getting the Bastards Out.  I feel the same way, although I suspect we’re referring to different bastards.

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s former Chief of Staff, the guy we thought we could count on, is gutting education and closing schools in favor of charter schools.  Who would have thought that Josh Lyman would let us down?

I read once that my generation (Gen X) doesn’t have heroes, and after some thought, I realized that was probably right.  We don’t have anyone to look up to.  No one’s going to save us.  Even Superman is “gritty” now. 

Not surprising that we invented social media, the almost too democratic medium where we can all share everything. 

But how are we going to fix these big problems?  Education, the middle class disappearing (mostly downwards), the war on women and rape culture, disappearing bees, and global warming?  I don’t feel like I can do much, to be honest.  I can donate money to causes (and I do), I vote, I sign petitions.  But I can’t help feeling like it doesn’t help much.

The one comfort I take is that we’ve gone through stuff like this before, and I imagine some of this comes from my age.  I’ll bet every nearly-forty-year-old has these thoughts–realizing she’s starting to get a little too busy and a little too tired to fix the problems of the world–whether it be in 2013 or 1973.   

In the mean time, I guess I’ll just keep going to work. After all, I’m lucky to have a job these days.  

The storm has passed outside.  The map is green, the rain is patting on the street, and the smell of petrichor is in the air.  


One Response to “Rainstorms and Apocalypse”

  1. Shari June 26, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Well said, Mary. I used to dream of changing the world too, and now I no longer know how that happens…

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