Things fall apart redux

I sit in my office sweating.

The 27-inch iMac gazes blankly at me from inside its raincoat, the pair of us waiting for the air-conditioner repairmen to arrive. It all started when my old PC laptop clapped out, exposing me to attack by the consumerist virus waiting in ambush. Next thing I knew, I was the proudish owner of a nearly-new iMac super doodah. And now look. The world is disintegrating.

Long-slumbering volcano erupts in Sumatra. Floods in Pakistan, India and China. Floods upcountry here in Thailand, soon to strike at Bangkok. Everywhere there’s no flooding, there’s drought and desertification, except where you get pandemic condos and shopping malls instead. Decaying glaciers and icecaps, dying reefs, dying copyright protection for intellectual property. And in reserve you have your speeding asteroids, bulletproof infectious bacteria, a super-volcano swelling up from Earth’s molten core beneath Yosemite National Park, climatically catastrophic upwellings of methane from beneath the sea floor, Chinese mass tourism, still more Hollywood sequels and remakes, the threat of a Republican administration in the USA, the redshirt resurgence in Thailand… the list goes on.

Locally—on a lesser scale but clearly related—in the past week Sara’s car has needed new tires all around plus some kind of pulley, it must be made of platinum it cost so much. The electric kettle that keeps water ready for my tea cashed in its chips. The insulated drinking-water jug in the bedroom sprung an irreparable leak. Sara, for reasons that remain unclear to me, dropped her new 3Gs iPhone in a wee Tupperware container full of water. (All seems well, after she left 1,000 baht with a handy dude in MBK who administered CPR and replaced the microphone.) I blew the soles on my trusty running shoes. The building appears to be settling and the hall doorway doesn’t fit anymore. (I believe that’s a line from an old blues song.) The washing machine, in its spin cycle, sounds like a cement mixer full of bowling balls, and there’s another repair crew that’ll need waiting for. I fell asleep in the bath and drowned a copy of Twilight. (IQ test: find the one item in the above list that doesn’t belong.)

And now the air-conditioner in my office, right above my iMac supercomputer and stuff, is dripping water like a hard rain. Where will it all end? I need some good high quality heating and cooling company to come and save my life finally.

These phenomena are probably related to the emergent random structural violence pandemic (RSVP). For sure, if you put all this shit on a graph, you can see things pretty precipitously plunging towards Armageddon. And did I mention alliteration? It’s everywhere; it’s everywhere.

… Ah. There’s the doorbell. It must be the air-con guys. Unless, of course, it’s terrorist gunmen or alien anthropophages.

For a contrarian view—an unfashionably optimistic, not to say utterly Pollyannaish antidote to prophets of doom such as myself—see Matt Ridley’s latest book:

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves.

A review of this book on a site devoted to trashing books supportive of “libertarianism”.


One reason I’ve become a science-fiction writer, a glimmer of optimism in this dark, dark existence I call a life: Homage to Ray Bradbury video (some might find the language offensive, but no one I know personally).

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