Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

There was no way to see, from this altitude, the squalor, the ruination, the foulness.

The second Friday in September. I'm not there yet, and if you've picked this paper up in a timely fashion neither are you. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that by 2:00 in the afternoon on Friday, September 8th, it will be uncomfortably hot. It has been uncomfortably hot for some time now, with brief respites. The hothouse effect is becoming increasingly hard to dismiss outside of air-conditioned corporate offices or an air-conditioned Lexus. But don't those who can avail themselves of these refuges (read they) get a clue while they're on the golf course? Maybe $8.00 martinis and imported beer ameliorate the discomfort to a large degree; but hasn't a single oil CEO and flat-earther who believes the greenhouse effect to be Luddite, liberal hysteria ever stuck his head out of a window? Because I am an enthusiast regarding the U.S. Constitution in ways that are inconvenient and meet with disapproval from the right, and also believe pretty much that this country was neither founded nor freed by the well behaved, I am often mistaken for a liberal hysteric and even an anarchist. This is understandable, as at times the difference is hard to discern. But choking in rush-hour traffic (nonexistent in San Diego not that long ago) and baking in ultraviolet ferocity while surrounded with crawling, single-occupant SUVs on I-5, I may fondle my bus pass and feel truly righteous.

As a kid in the Midwest, the second week of September was an oppressive time. It was uphill in the early school year and likely still muggy. I transformed public parks or forest preserves or my family's back yard into Conradian jungles brimming with adventure. Garden or "garter" snakes became monsters; steaming puddles of mud were quicksand I didn't always avoid, shadows transmogrified into homicidal native tribesmen. I was a 19th-century British martyr to the sun in some godforsaken colony, Lawrence of Arabia, or Sir Richard Burton. This past summer in San Diego I found myself unable to romanticize the weather and was forced to confront the sweating, grunting, middle-aged curmudgeon I have become, an ageing hippy cursing industry and its gifts of fluorocarbons, carbon monoxide, and ozone-shredding, inefficiently consumed petroleum.

No one has yet heard me utter the words, "Save the planet," much less "Save the whales." I am unconcerned about the planet, and whales will either do just fine or they won't. It is, of course, me that concerns me.

Instrumental in bringing my disgruntlement to a peak is a recent reading of Robert Silverberg's Hot Sky at Midnight, a 1994 novel safely labeled science fiction, which is to say, nonsense, a comic book, not in any way real or having to do with you. Silverberg has managed to produce consistently high-grade literary fiction for several decades without attracting the attention of either mainstream readers or the literati (more real than the illuminati). He has, however caught my attention since 1973 with a reading of his book Dying Inside, as good as anything Updike or Bellow ever wrote. Aside from Silverbeard's (a term of affection, and his beard is indeed a dull argent these days) finely balanced sentences and uncharacteristic (for much of science fiction) characterization, the relevance of Hot Sky to our endless summer is of more than passing interest to anyone willing to stick his head out of a climate-controlled room.

Without giving anything at all away (in the unlikely event you find and pick up this out-of-print novel), a closing passage has stayed with me for several days as I sought shady sides of streets and sneezed or coughed or both at intersections like Midway and Sports Arena. That passage is a description of Earth viewed from space some 200 years from now and, ostensibly, exactly how it would be seen today.

"A perfect blue ball, gleaming brightly, mottled with bands of white. The wounds mankind had inflicted were invisible. There was no way to see, from this altitude, the squalor, the ruination, the foulness. The bleak new desert zones that had been fertile agricultural areas a few generations back, the steaming fungoid forests covering the sites of abandoned cities, the drowned shorelines, [New Orleans] the clotted garbage in the seas, the colorful patches of poisoned air, the long dreary miles of blackened and withered wasteland.... No, the view from up here beyond the stratosphere was altogether superb.

"There were some who felt that it had merely been stained; if that was the case, the planet would need some time to cleanse itself. But it would. It would. Everything would be repaired.... The planet had plenty of time. We don't, but it does. Life would go on. Not necessarily ours, but life of some sort...we were such poor stewards of our domain, so be it. So be it. One kind fails, another kind eventually takes over. Life is persistent. Life is resilient."

It is unlikely I will have grandchildren, but allow me to lift my plastic, practically immortal plastic bottle of Crystal Geyser water to yours.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Tennis with François Truffaut and Donal Logue

The film is helped immensely by casting four leads to play their own tennis
Next Article

The glamour and crime of Tijuana

Club Campestre abduction, cross-border prostitution, Russian-owned gym, TJ's new night scene

The second Friday in September. I'm not there yet, and if you've picked this paper up in a timely fashion neither are you. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that by 2:00 in the afternoon on Friday, September 8th, it will be uncomfortably hot. It has been uncomfortably hot for some time now, with brief respites. The hothouse effect is becoming increasingly hard to dismiss outside of air-conditioned corporate offices or an air-conditioned Lexus. But don't those who can avail themselves of these refuges (read they) get a clue while they're on the golf course? Maybe $8.00 martinis and imported beer ameliorate the discomfort to a large degree; but hasn't a single oil CEO and flat-earther who believes the greenhouse effect to be Luddite, liberal hysteria ever stuck his head out of a window? Because I am an enthusiast regarding the U.S. Constitution in ways that are inconvenient and meet with disapproval from the right, and also believe pretty much that this country was neither founded nor freed by the well behaved, I am often mistaken for a liberal hysteric and even an anarchist. This is understandable, as at times the difference is hard to discern. But choking in rush-hour traffic (nonexistent in San Diego not that long ago) and baking in ultraviolet ferocity while surrounded with crawling, single-occupant SUVs on I-5, I may fondle my bus pass and feel truly righteous.

As a kid in the Midwest, the second week of September was an oppressive time. It was uphill in the early school year and likely still muggy. I transformed public parks or forest preserves or my family's back yard into Conradian jungles brimming with adventure. Garden or "garter" snakes became monsters; steaming puddles of mud were quicksand I didn't always avoid, shadows transmogrified into homicidal native tribesmen. I was a 19th-century British martyr to the sun in some godforsaken colony, Lawrence of Arabia, or Sir Richard Burton. This past summer in San Diego I found myself unable to romanticize the weather and was forced to confront the sweating, grunting, middle-aged curmudgeon I have become, an ageing hippy cursing industry and its gifts of fluorocarbons, carbon monoxide, and ozone-shredding, inefficiently consumed petroleum.

No one has yet heard me utter the words, "Save the planet," much less "Save the whales." I am unconcerned about the planet, and whales will either do just fine or they won't. It is, of course, me that concerns me.

Instrumental in bringing my disgruntlement to a peak is a recent reading of Robert Silverberg's Hot Sky at Midnight, a 1994 novel safely labeled science fiction, which is to say, nonsense, a comic book, not in any way real or having to do with you. Silverberg has managed to produce consistently high-grade literary fiction for several decades without attracting the attention of either mainstream readers or the literati (more real than the illuminati). He has, however caught my attention since 1973 with a reading of his book Dying Inside, as good as anything Updike or Bellow ever wrote. Aside from Silverbeard's (a term of affection, and his beard is indeed a dull argent these days) finely balanced sentences and uncharacteristic (for much of science fiction) characterization, the relevance of Hot Sky to our endless summer is of more than passing interest to anyone willing to stick his head out of a climate-controlled room.

Without giving anything at all away (in the unlikely event you find and pick up this out-of-print novel), a closing passage has stayed with me for several days as I sought shady sides of streets and sneezed or coughed or both at intersections like Midway and Sports Arena. That passage is a description of Earth viewed from space some 200 years from now and, ostensibly, exactly how it would be seen today.

"A perfect blue ball, gleaming brightly, mottled with bands of white. The wounds mankind had inflicted were invisible. There was no way to see, from this altitude, the squalor, the ruination, the foulness. The bleak new desert zones that had been fertile agricultural areas a few generations back, the steaming fungoid forests covering the sites of abandoned cities, the drowned shorelines, [New Orleans] the clotted garbage in the seas, the colorful patches of poisoned air, the long dreary miles of blackened and withered wasteland.... No, the view from up here beyond the stratosphere was altogether superb.

"There were some who felt that it had merely been stained; if that was the case, the planet would need some time to cleanse itself. But it would. It would. Everything would be repaired.... The planet had plenty of time. We don't, but it does. Life would go on. Not necessarily ours, but life of some sort...we were such poor stewards of our domain, so be it. So be it. One kind fails, another kind eventually takes over. Life is persistent. Life is resilient."

It is unlikely I will have grandchildren, but allow me to lift my plastic, practically immortal plastic bottle of Crystal Geyser water to yours.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

North River Farms foes face lawsuit heat

If activists take Measure L off ballot, they would no longer face mounting legal fees
Next Article

Immigrants flock to San Diego

Indian-Americans, Casa Cornelia, Border Angels, Somalis, Vietnamese in Linda Vista
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close