Monday, September 19, 2005

You Can't Fool Mother Nature, but you can Piss her Off

The best part about cellphones is that the insane among us can now talk comfortably to themselves without anyone's being the wiser. I spent Sunday morning, a glorious one, resplendent you might actually call it, sitting on a park bench next to the mucked-up pond in Central Park, still eerily viridescent on its surface, reading the paper and listening to a pleasant lunatic railing and commentating a few benches away. I say pleasant because he bore some resemblance to Brando in his later years, not yet the full-blown grotesque, but only moderately bloated, in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, and a Panama hat. His voice was well- modulated and interesting, more so because my last few outdoor ventures have been marred by people on their fucking mobiles nattering away loudly, at sidewalk cafes, walking on the street,n'importe ou(the French are here, plugged in, too.) So as there is no peace left anywhere, it is comparatively charming to hear someone intelligent who has lost it, and so has an excuse.
"Cole slaw," he noted, as he took out the contents of his lunch bag. "My grandmother made excellent cole slaw. I remember the hurricane when I was ten, it was 1938, November 28th it was. There were three more days till the end of the hurricane season, but it came anyway. The streets of New York were flooded,and she went into shock over it. They put her in a mental ward and she didn't speak for five years. I wonder why they never talk about that hurricane. on the news She was sixty six, the same age I am now." I didn't try to correct him on his math, because the conversation he was conducting with himself was quite amicable, and infinitely more interesting than the ones you tune into without wanting to, just because you are seated near some klunkhead who is planning a party and talking loudly to a Maitre d', or at least insisting she is well known to the Maitre d', so the message should be passed along, "a table for fifteen."
"Funny," the man on the bench was saying "how you remember things from so long ago but you can't remember what happened yesterday. That's probably good for this administration."
Well said. It put me in mind of 'The Snake Pit' where Olivia de Havilland speaks of the lunatics being allowed to run the asylum. It would be nice to think that the catastrophic events of these past weeks would have some effect for the good. Frank Rich in his brilliant op-ed piece Sunday wrote that once the curtain was pulled aside the Wizard of Oz could never seem to be a wizard again, revealed once and for all as a blustering snake-oil salesman, as the true Bush has been revealed, never to be believed at the level he was by the American people. Oh, God,I hope not. The idiocy has been so blatant, the media so far ahead in its reporting that even Fox News has had to acknowledge the embarrassment. I got an e-mail today from a friend in Malaysia who sent me the Roe v. Wade joke/query, 'What does Bush think of Roe v.Wade? Answer: He doesn't care HOW the people get out of New Orleans.' From Kuala Lumpur, for God's sake. The rest of the world catches on while here there is joy among bright people that his approval rating is down to 46%. How can 46% still approve of him?
You can fool 46% of the people some of the time,and a lot of the people at a time when it really mattered, but you can't fool Mother Nature. I felt sure she had expressed her feelings as a response to the spit in her face about Global Warming, her fury at the blatant ignorance, after all she had done to give us a clue. Ignorance is no longer bliss, it's policy. I remember when I was making my first foray into the realms of spiritual questing, I asked Jack if there was evil in the world. (I had asked the same question of Richard Kleindienst, one of Nixon's fallen Attorney Generals, my dinner party partner in Georgetown,and he said "You better believe it." Still I was in the first throes of attempted deep discovery, so I welcomed Jack's answer: "No. There is ignorance and greed." I'll say. I wasn'tsure where to send my donation for New Otleans,and wondered if it wasn't best to send it directly to Halliburton.
So now Hurricane Rita(that'smy Aunt), or maybe it will be downgraded to a Tropical Storm, is almost upon us. Everyone is preparing this time. Bush says the levees might give if the storm hit New Orleans. It's nice that he understands that by now. After Katrina he said 'Who knew that the levees would give?' Well,only everybody who paid any attention for the past few years,or listened at all, ever. Live in the moment, George. Who ever thought that someone who never watches TV could be stupider than someone who did?
After he departed, the man who was talking to himself, I saw that he had left a wax paper-wrapped sandwich: he had forgotten to eat his lunch. It was a bologna on white with American cheese, and I wondered if that was symbolic of what we had become. I fed it to the mallards.

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