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May 11, 2021

Here & Now 176: Beep Beep

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Here & Now 176
Here & Now 176

My place. Tuesday, 2.11am

I’ve always been in a rush. I’ve always been keen to get to the end of this, so I can start that. And when I start that, I can’t wait until it’s finished, so I can start the next thing. Beep, beep.

It’s not that I’m fickle or unreliable. No. I nearly always finish what I start. It’s just that while I’m finishing this, I’m so restless for the next.

I even sleep fast. I’m awake now. It’s dark and quiet (except for something walking on the roof). I’m ready for breakfast. But the world, as usual, is not keeping up. Three hours till dawn. Oh dear. Roadrunner can’t run at night…

Yesterday, I sat at a cafe in Lismore with a friend. I’d finished my (large) latte, while my friend had hardly touched her (regular) flat white. I sat there thinking about visiting my favourite record shop and doing the grocery shopping, while listening to her tell me about her weekend with a broken mower: ‘You think you can buy offset serrated mower blades in this town? On a Sunday?’

I stared at her coffee as it grew colder but not smaller, willing her to sip, sip, sip, already. I wanted to go. I could’ve been buying The Temptations’ Greatest Hits or two kilos of local bananas, but I smiled and nodded and said, ‘Not in this town, no way. Not on a Sunday.’ (I’m impatient, sure, but not rude.) I brought my latte glass to my lips – and remembered it was empty.

Recently I went to a party. I like parties. That makes sense. A person inclined to rushing probably has a need for a lot of stimulation. I’m the first one dressed and ready to go. (‘Hurry up! It starts at 6!’) I turn up at 5.58pm, shout hello to the hostess through her bathroom door, and open the wine. By the time she is dressed and the cool people are arriving (‘but the invitation said from 6pm…’), my wine is drunk, so am I, and I’m ready to go home.

The world has always moved too slowly for me. Beep, beep.

I heard about climate change in the 1980s. I collected newspaper cuttings about it. (Newspaper cuttings. How quaint.) It didn’t sound good. But I knew, given the scientific evidence and the dire consequences, that in the next few years, the world leaders would unite and combat this threat. People would not allow their global life-support sysyem to fail. Surely. The planet would spin with renewed hope and health into the 21st century. It would be a golden age, the New Enlightenment. I couldn’t wait.

So, I rushed to the bush, where I could live the dream of ecological rationalism. And that’s where I am now: in my shack under the cliffs at the end of the world, waiting in a moonless darkness for dawn, so I can make coffee. I’ve always been in a hurry. But where to now? The dream is over…

Thirty years on from those newspaper articles, governments have failed their people. Nothing was done. Wile E. Coyote remains sociopathically commited to ACME Incorporated, despite their products blowing up in his face. With an astounding audacity, Wile E can approve a massive new coal mine, while ice caps become rising sea levels and methane-loaded permafrost becomes un-perma. Idiot.

Lying here, I’m stilled by the darkness, paralysed by the clarity that pre-dawn brings. I cannot move. No beep-beep here. Now, it is the world that is rushing, not me. It has overtaken me with its ACME coal-powered jetsuit and is racing towards the cliff.

That’s all, folks.

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  1. The world – read “world leaders” – is in denial re climate change. Just like a bad relationship breakup…blame is cast is on everything but the honest truth, to preserve pride!


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