My waking dream came early this morning- somewhere before
4:00 am. I fell asleep on the couch around 9:00 last night.
A combination of good food, a good amount of Chardonnay, walking
around Brooklyn earlier in the afternoon, and who knows what
else. Eventually, we made it to bed but of course now I'm
wide awake at five-something in the morning. This is not my
normal time of day.
The dream started with Denise and me driving our other car
past the dealership where our Jaguar was being worked on.
[One really nice thing about dreams is you get to own things
that are way beyond your real-life means!] The door to the
garage was open, and the car was up on the lift nearest the
door with its door open, and the window half way down. There
didn't seem to be anyone working on the car at the moment,
and the weather was bad.
I stopped the car and went inside. "Excuse me!" I said. "Could
someone close up this car? I don't want the interior to get
Someone told me that I'd have to talk to someone at the service
desk. For who knows what reason, I complied and walked over
to the service area. I found a spot to lean against the counter
and began to wait. The people at the service counter seemed
to be steering clear of me, making it a point to take care
of other customers first. I waited a while.
At some point, a couple with three kids came in. The kids
were in a playful mood, and the parents seemed to be ignoring
them. The kids began to chase each other around the room,
including under furniture and between the legs of other customers.
One of the kids ran right into me, and didn't say excuse me.
I glanced at the parents, who said nothing.
A short while later, one of the kids ran up and leaned against
my leg as if I were part of a playground set. I shifted my
weight hard, causing the kid to fly away. Now the father was
miffed with me. "They're just kids. You don't treat my kids
that way," he said.
My response: "Just because you have kids doesn't make you
the center of the universe! You have kids-it's your responsibility
to teach them manners..." Well, that was the gist of it anyway.
I think I was about to start cursing the man out in front
of his kids, but I woke up instead. I can't believe I was
shouting at someone in my dreams!
I think the dream was in response to the article I read yesterday
that essentially said that people shouldn't feel guilty for
driving SUVs, even if they do consume far more fuel and emit
more pollution than other cars - people should be free to
buy and drive whatever they like. It also offers some mumbo-jumbo
about how the real problem are the government's CAFE (fuel
economy) standards, and how many of the compact cars that
manufacturers make to meet the standards are unsafe in crashes
[uh, particularly when they collide with SUVs]...
It's a funny thing about civilization: you start living with
other people, at some point, you need to consider the impact
that your behavior has on everyone else. The SUV argument
seems to say, "Hey, I like these vehicles; I should be able
to drive one." With arguments like that, GE should be allowed
to keep dumping PCBs into the Hudson River, too.
Shucks, maybe I'm just an irritable almost-tree-hugger. I
don't even own a car, and resist the idea. My brother at least
used to own a Ford Explorer, and my sister-in-law owns a Bronco,
so maybe I'm stepping on their feet.
But, I think the real driving force behind the SUV phenomenon
isn't simply "consumer demand." US auto makers in particular
have been struggling to find successful designs for some time,
and SUVs caught on. That's where the right to make money/saving
American jobs argument kicks in. So what if US oil consumption
is at an all-time high, and the explosion in SUV sales isn't
helping? Let's blame Congress, instead of our own collective
There's possibly another reason that I'm so aware of our
culture of waste right now. On Dreamwalker, we had to manage
our water consumption carefully. During our week-long trip,
we were able to take care of our normal hygeine, cooking,
and more while using considerably less water than we would
on land. We responded effectively to a necessity.
Yet, in New York, we're in the middle of a drought. Manhattan
restaurants only give you tap water when you ask for it, but
I don't see any statistics on how much water we're really
saving. I doubt that many people are really taking shorter
showers at home, or running their washing machines and dishwashers
less frequently. It would be useful for the news to report
on things like that: successful efforts to reduce water usage.
That would be a different kind of consumer reporting. Instead,
we get wishful comments tacked onto the weather forecast about
how we need more rain... Useful information: "At the current
rate of consumption, New York City has about a 30-day supply
of water." Not particularly useful: "The reservoirs are at
50% of their normal level for this time of year. If we dont'
get much rain soon, we'll really be in trouble."
I scanned a bunch of photos from our trip to paradise this
weekend. They need a little color correction, etc., then I'll
post them. I have moments where I look around, and wonder
if it wasn't completely insane to return to this, when we
saw what we saw down in the Virgin Islands.
A funny New York kind of thing happened the other day: I
was on my way to the convenience store across the street,
when a man asked me if I had a light. I said "Sorry... I don't
smoke." Barely missing a beat, he said "Well then, do you
have a match?"