A gross polluter's paean to fall
In my line of work, I'm often required to be a bit of a time traveler. You see, the subject of today's message is fall, which won't have officially transpired until after I've filed these precious words (the autumnal equinox is Sept. 21).
However, I must also write as if it's already happened, since this words won't be released to the public until the Friday after. So, I'm writing for the future as if it's already the past.
It begs the question, is fall falling or fallen at this point? This is the kind of query best suited for Lewis Carroll and H.G. Wells to hash out over absinthe. If those fellows ever invited me, sure, I'd join them, but it would help the fact that both me and Fall are past deadline.
To look outside in Northern California, you'd think it was spring, but spring on Venus, you know, where the planet's proximity to the sun causes temperatures to be in excess of 770 degrees Fahrenheit. You Sonomans complaining about the heat on Facebook should be grateful to be one rock further from the sun. Is it that our once-bracing autumnal weather feels like someone left the door open to hell? Let's turn to history.
Shortly after Al Gore invented the Internet, the presidency was stolen from him. As his utopian vision of a world interconnected by the information superhighway crumbled, he became morose, grew a beard and created a weather machine to crank the heat on a world that had forsaken him.
That's what the plot of "An Inconvenient Truth" was, right? I don't know, I couldn't get past the first 15 minutes. Regardless, it's nearly October and the mercury is still rising. At this rate, come November, our Thanksgiving turkeys will cook themselves. We might crawl into the oven ourselves, as it will likely be cooler than it is outside.
Mother Nature is probably just stoned. Any moment, she'll come to, rub her eyes and get on with adding a little chill to the wind and some dashes of orange and burnt umber to the trees. If she doesn't wake up, if she's in a coma, say, or worse - dead - it would make a terrific third act for Al Gore to come back and redeem his evil ways by reviving her with some other technological whiz-bang. At least then, he'd have something to put on Current TV.
Of course, Al Gore isn't really the Lex Luther of climate change. He's the Jimmy Olsen - well-meaning but kind of clueless without Superman. Whomever Eco-Superman turns out to be, I know it won't be me. I'm the kind of cad who gleefully climbs into my car on "Spare the Air" days to take advantage of the lack of traffic.
So, I suppose, in point of fact, it's people like me we can blame for our forestalled fall.
Like the columns I write for the future-past, perhaps I should pen an apology to future generations for messing up the climate.
Yeah, I'll take that one on personally since no one else seems willing. And no, I'm not subsidized by Big Oil or any other gross polluters to be their official scapegoat. I'm just a guy who remembers crisp air, crunching leaves and the a haze on the horizon around this time of year.
I should probably also write up a description of what fall used to be like in Northern California, where it might just find its most beautiful annual expression, so the children of tomorrow can appreciate what a villain I was. Then they'll invent a time machine to travel back in time to kick my ass and discover they're outnumbered.
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Daedalus Howell is gross polluter at DHowell.com.