Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Roadrunners, The Galleria, and Global Warming...

In other words, it's time for a "things that bug me!" post.  That's right, once again I find things that irritate the fire out of me, and I let you know what they are! Aren't you excited? I knew you would be.  And this episode is the special Texas edition.

In the last episode, I talked about my Blessed Flyswatter.  You know, the one I can't find in all my boxes and shelves because I. Don't. Need. It. Here. Either the Arts at Midtown Apartments have amazing pest control specialists (and they probably do. I've seen a cricket, and a couple of little bugs inside my apartment, and absolutely nothing outside.  In fact, the whole time I've been here (a month now), I've seen exactly one cockroach (but more on that in a minute).  We have two stray cats on the premises, or at least, I think they're strays, probably belong to someone around here. I've seen no stray dogs. In a huge city like Dallas.  I saw a skunk once, while I was driving home from the college. Never seen one of those before.

The reason I bring this up is that in Texas, as you know, everything is bigger (and that's a stereotype with loads of truth in it). In Texas it's what eats the cockroaches that is a pest.  I need to send these things over to Georgia... they'd have an absolute feast!  Thing is, I don't know what they're called. but they're everywhere.  Birds.  About the size of blackbirds, but they don't fly, and are brown-ish.  They have their mouths open constantly (mainly because it's probably 110 degrees near the pavement), and they make insanely loud squawking sounds.  I call them roadrunners, not because they are, but because the run on the road.  They sweep the streets clean of bugs, leftover food, anything they can devour.  Even the bugs off of cars.  And they're not scared of you at all.  They stand on the sidewalk and watch you pass, about like the buzzards do in Georgia.  And they're everywhere!  I guess it's a mixed blessing, to have no bugs, but lots of large birds around.  (after some looking, I think they're called "Great-Tailed Grackles," and from the description that wikipedia gives them, it makes sense.  A pack of Grackles is called an "annoyance."   It says they're not afraid of humans and make loud, raucous sounds.

Couple weekends ago I took a two minute trip west to the Galleria Mall, the opulent center of human decadence located conveniently right next to my apartment.  I even dressed up to go in, thinking it would be better than shorts and a t-shirt.  Four floors, with the bottom being an ice rink and food court, and the other floors ascending as they decreased in price.  On the main floor is Nordstroms,
along with alternating shops that sell the finest of women's clothing and purse/handbags stores.  Fine jewelry, watches, accessories for the latest Apple products... all of which is totally worthless to me.  The one store I was delighted to find was one owned by Papryus.  Borders carried a line of Papryus products, and I was glad to find such great greeting cards within such a short distance of my house.  I would definitely go back to that store for birthday cards and, of course, for amazingly sparkly wrapping paper.  :)

The upper floor is where the normal mall stores are: Spencer's, Hot Topic, Subway.  Packed within this area are all the people who, like me, couldn't afford the lower floors but have to buy something while at the Galleria Mall so they could say they did it.  I declined that opportunity, at least for now, and I do understand the attraction for seeing how the rich spend their money.  However, I feel much more at home at the Valley View Center on the other side of my street, or even at the Thrift Shops over on Harry Hines, where, amongst the loud Spanish Pop songs and screaming children and toys all over the floor, I found some great Jeans for $4.00 a piece, ones that I can wear when it gets cold around here (which I hope never happens.)

One thing I have loved here in Dallas is the 100 degree temperatures.  With relatively lower humidity than the saunas that are prevalent in Georgia.  I walk outside and feel the warm (to hot), crisp, air, and it warms the muscles, the skin, relaxes it.  It's amazing that such a ball of fire as the Sun, 8 light-minutes away from Earth, can generate that much heat.  It reminds me of my now long gone Large Dangerous Space Heater which I loved so very much.  Without the humidity, you sweat more here, but it evaporates, keeps you cooler when the Dallas winds go sweeping down the plains (oh, wrong state).  And every single person I know would think I was the craziest person on the face of the planet for liking warm temperatures... I mean, it's getting hotter, isn't it? We're going to bake in an oven of our own making? Global War... I mean, Climate Change... is going to do irreparable harm, and the only way we can fix it is to let the Government tax, regulate, and force us to be kinder to our environment.  After all, they know best, don't they???

Truthfully, do I think that we have had something to do with affecting the overall climate of the Earth? Probably.  I don't know what that is, as I have little proof and even fewer reasons to go looking for that proof.  But... do I want the Government to control everything that I do, consume, and waste, all in the name of protecting Mother Earth?  Of course not!! I will leave my lights on if I want, and sleep with icicles hanging off my feet if I so choose.  And I will pay for that in the electricity bill that I get each month (which, in Georgia, was in the summer around $350).

I say all this because the college that my bookstore serves is requiring every student in the school to read Global Weirdness, and wanting every professor, whether it's an English or History or Science or Math professor to use it in some way.  And I can see how it can work, I took Environmental Algebra at GC&SU, and made an A in the course. It was very enjoyable.  I only hope that in those classes, they are providing the students with a balanced look at the issue, showing evidence that, perhaps the world isn't going to bake in an oven as quickly or as dangerously as they think.  They could easily show how climate change oscillates from one century to the next, cooling and warming, and depending on forces like El Niño, climate is changed more by natural phenomenon than the things we are doing.

The main reason I couldn't care less about the whole Environmental movement is that sometimes the real goals are cloaked in the humanitarian mission of saving the planet.  Control, Power, Money...and the people who are ambitious for them, can easily use the Evironment as a tool to gain them.  And besides, let's be honest about our reasons for doing things.  Do I want to go back to incandescent light bulbs? Heck no... I had to change them every two weeks in fixtures that were impossible to undo.  Put an LED in there, save money, save time, and I can be lazy and not have to change it for years.  That's environmentalism for you.  If the college turns off the AC in a building because they are trying to "conserve" and be "green" about things, that's a load of compost.  They do it to save money. And that's fine.  Just tell us that you're saving money, and not because of some altruistic sense of duty toward this rock we live on.  I'd do a lot of things to help the environment (and I've seen the many things that liter, light pollution, noise pollution, water pollution (the rivers in Dallas are Green), do to our world, and I don't like it. But that's not enough for me.  Give me an incentive to take that extra step.  Saving money, or saving time, or letting me be just a little bit more lazy when I don't have to unscrew that light bulb.  That's all I want.  And that's the true answer to that riddle.... "As few as possible."  And while we're at it, let's go shop online and not have to worry about spending electricity and other utilities to power that thing to my east.  What savings that would create! We pick and choose, when it suits us.  

1 comment:

  1. That mall looks large enough to be some kind of space station. You sure you aren't on another planet?
    :-) Live long and prosper, my friend.