Love and Latitude in an Age of Anxiety


What is going on? Whoever possesses the answer, would they please stand up and be counted? El Niño is busting out after lazing on its massive south Pacific lilo for the past few years. It never rains in Southern California goes the 70’s classic pop-tastic number. Well now it does. So much so, they’re going to need an ark the size of Rhode Island to evacuate all God’s animals from the jungles of South Central LA. Spotlight on Oz: Moses might have looked on the burning bush as a divine signal, but that’s probably not how Mick Dundee sees it from a fire-ravaged Down Under. 11,000 diametric miles away from the planetary posterior, Scotland is lashed by the Atlantic’s own cat-o’-nine-tails, as if she – brave little Scotland, nearly but not quite ready to break free and run from that mean old union of 1707 – deserves nature’s lockdown treatment, as if her enclosed glens were not already filled to brimming, her peaty soils already maxed out on efforts to conceal the horrible truth of her climate. New York, meanwhile, all but realises Hollywood’s disaster prophecy foretold in The Day After Tomorrow. Times Square abandoned but for a snowman and a wacky waitress-cum-sculptor serving its face with salad, giving its midriff and ass that Dunkin Donut rotundness of an N.Y.P.D. officer directing non-existent traffic. What else can we add? The Middle East a balmy 25 degrees c – the perfect winter’s day. So perfect, indeed, that while its climate displays the clemency of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Tribunal, its political climate is hell bent on restoring the yin-yang balance by fostering a political and humanitarian shit storm. Then we’ve got Africa. Oh! Africa, My Africa. Dr Livingstone’s beloved open sore of the world. It matters not what the weather is doing there, because a) it’s doing about everything weather can do, short of what weather does in Russia; and b) no one gives a toss. Hell, the only patch of snow Africa ever had is receding faster from the crater rim of Kilimanjaro than, oh, Prince William’s hairline.

Record temperatures forecast for summer 2016. Another glorious summer of ’69 is emphatically not on the cards, unless you consider the possibility that 69 refers entirely to Kuwait’s 2016 midsummer temperature in degrees Celsius. Cut to Syria and a summer of gory as opposed to glory might be more apposite. So what’s is going to be and why are we all somewhat jittery about the weeks and months to come?

There was one of those digital proverbs posted on an anonymous internet forum the other day. You know the ones? They exist to restore a little bit of aah!!!, a little laaaah-titude to our vertiginous lives. They are Xanax pills, swallowed in word form to ease our growing anguish. They are Novocane for the soul, to take The Eels of of context. The rise of these latter-day koans, cliched as they are, comes to highlight the puzzle and paradox of being YOU in this, our age of anxiety. Throw in a shit load of bad weather then lay it on thick with an impending economic collapse (brought on by a China dragon about to swallow its tail) and you’ve got the perfect psychological storm.

The proverb went like this:  As sex got easier to get, love got harder to find.

If you strain your eyes hard enough on a low res image, you can see the words in microscopic form. Each one is a pixel forming a mosaic. That mosaic is us, all standing shoulder to shoulder on a crowded Gaia spinning at 67,000 mph around the sun. Seen from space, it all flows together beautifully. However, seen from close up, the pixels are so not together.

And as for the proverb: sure, love was never easy to find; as for the bountiful sex part, says who? I mean, yours truly ain’t getting his share. That’s why he is writing this…this, whatever this is…in bed on a weekend morning, instead of…you know, getting it?

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