Friday, May 12 2006
April and May are a sort of Teabag Christmas for me in my laboratory. I fling my Red Rose teabags out the laboratory window into the nearby Mockernut Hickory tree, where a good fraction of them end up caught and hanging by their mousey little tails. As the leaves come in thicker and thicker the teabags disappear and I lose my interest in this form of decoration, at least that was the way things happened last year. This year is different, though, because I'm spending a lot more time in the laboratory cranking out code, drinking a lot more tea and chucking many more teabags. I'm also producing a lot more urine, but I've got the disposal of that resource under control, so it's rather pleasant out on the laboratory deck.
The trappings of my life these days are those teabag decorations, that five gallon urinal, and The Polyphonic Spree, my principle soundtrack these past few days (discovered by Gretchen from the otherwise-useless movie Thumbsucker). I've come to associate these things with the end of Homo technicalis, just because they're all part of my life simultaneously. The urinal makes sense in a sad sort of way, since it produces fertilizer in a renewable way that might otherwise be made from non-renewable natural gas. But that's only if you (as most people do) look at a tiny part of the process. Most of the food I eat was produced by non-renewable means and shipped great distances with non-renewable fuel. That urine and the body that produced it are just cardboard houses of unsustainability cheerily holding forth while the thunderstorms of natural limits gather. As I'm peeing into the non-renewably-manufactured PVC funnel of my makeshift urinal, birds flit about in the trees and the wind bends the boughs and I think to myself that all these natural things are just marking time waiting for humanity's keg to run out so they can have their world back again. I see the non-renewably fed cats rolling around in the dust on the non-renewable asphalt of the driveway or stalking the renewably-fed songbirds through a slowly reforesting patch of lawn and I'm saddened by ephemerality of it all. What exactly was the point of all this? Are there any points anyway?
Tonight Gretchen and I had dinner again at the Reservoir Inn with our friends Susan and Don from Boiceville. Susan had just won a prestigious (and reasonably lucrative) award for one of her translations from German to English, so congratulations were in order. As we had last time we'd done dinner with Susan and Don, we drank rather more alcohol than we might otherwise have drunk. A cautionary story unfolded outside the restaurant window on Basin Road when a Town of Woodstock Police car (acting somewhat outside his jurisdiction) pulled over a contractor in a pickup truck. I know enough about contractors on a Friday night to be fairly certain that there was an open beer beside the driver when the pull over began. The driver popped a breath mint right there in front of the cop, but he must have said something pretty good because he was released without any paperwork being generated.
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