Wednesday, September 15, 2021
What can I say about the summer of 2021? Well, not surprisingly, I do have a few observations.
Cranky’s Inferno. We’ve had a lot of very hot weather this summer, thanks in part to the climate change we humans have been so adept at accelerating. I hate hot weather. I mean, I really hate it. I get grumpy at 76 degrees, and I go full-bore psycho in the 80s and 90s. If I had to choose between one day of 90-degree heat or a month-long triple package of athletes foot, head lice, and jock itch, I’d opt for the triad of bodily woes. I’d rather go camping with Doug Ericksen than be hot. It’s that bad. The first time this summer our outdoor thermometer hit 90 degrees, I lost it. Turning red and shaking my fist at the heat waves rising from the street, I released a barrage of curses in which I managed to use variations of the f-word as all eight parts of speech. Normally the prepositions and conjunctions would be challenging, but I get inspired by rage.
Summer and Smoke. And then there were the fires that blanketed the area with smoke for days on end. Getting asphyxiated the first time I walked outside, I retreated indoors and entered a self-imposed house arrest. My neighbor Roger, who has a more positive attitude than I, decided he would turn lemons into lemonade. Roger is fond of smoked meats, so he left a turkey and a salmon on his patio table, figuring they would be nicely smoked by morning. It hadn’t occurred to Roger that the same raccoons that had been raiding his garbage can all summer would see this as a complimentary buffet.
Undaunted, Roger pulled another turkey and salmon from his freezer and suspended them with ropes from a Douglas fir, well out of raccoon reach. This installation immediately drew an avian mob, including some scary looking raptors. So thick were the squawking hordes that Roger’s yard looked like an outtake from Hitchcock’s The Birds. The dangling treats were gone in about 20 minutes.
Fly the Unfriendly Skies. Having had enough of heat, smoke and home confinement, I decided to take a trip. My old friend Anton, who retired to a cabin in the Maine woods, had been urging me to visit. OK, I thought, I’ll book a flight. But then I remembered the things I’ve been reading about atrocious misbehavior on the part of some of the more feral flyers. It would be just my luck to be getting settled when my seat mate would appear, a maskless meathead in a camo muscle shirt, smelling like he’d spent the last hour or so knocking back boilermakers in the airport bar. Once we were at our cruising speed this cantankerous churl would proceed to pee in the aisle, sucker-punch a flight attendant, and try to exit through a cabin door. For a moment I enjoyed the mental image of the surprised look on this fellow’s face as he noticed how rapidly he was approaching terra firma, his little red MAGA hat fluttering down behind him. But then I recalled that there can be unpleasant consequences from opening a cabin door at 30,000 feet, so I abandoned my daydream of his accelerating descent, as well as any insane idea I might have entertained about getting on an airplane these days.
Pronoun Perplexity. The November general election is heating up and I’m getting a daily deluge of campaign emails. In a recent dispatch from county council candidate Rebecca Lewis, I observed that after her name she included her preferred pronoun designations she/her. Over in the City Council races, candidate Eve Smason-Marcus’ name is topped with a blend of gender-neutral and gender-specific preferences, they/she. It appears that identifying your pronoun preferences is the in thing to do these days. Well, I certainly don’t want to be left out, so I suppose I should start following my name with he/him. Uh, no, I’m not happy with that. It’s too commonplace. There are millions of he/him’s out there. He/him’s are a dime a dozen. I want pronouns that are more unique. How about Alan Rhodes, anything/whichever? Or nobody/several? Maybe that/something would be good. Possibly none/most would work.
I had no idea this was going to be so hard. No wonder I’m always behind on all the latest trends.