Saturday, August 13, 2005
Here's an interesting precept that sprung from a perception on my mother's part, and resulted in a game of logical leapfrog that lasted one whole round on my part.
My mom crafted this theory while on extended vacation in England with friends and family. Yes, there is another whole country outside of the US--and people from here have actually ventured there, for purposes wholly unrelated to the crusade of democracy--a crusade often rained out and ruined by downpours of shrapnel, lead and leaflets.
But we speak of another rain here. Mom observed that in the rainy clime of Britain, people became more socially enmeshed as they were forced indoors to congregate in clubs and pubs.
Indeed, they thrived on this interaction to an extent that would render time in the sun laughably insignificant. Their ties to one another took on heightened importance, be it through having a laugh or taking the piss out of one another.
You couldn't come off as a complete prick to some stranger, because there would be no strangers the next day, when you were thrust back indoors face to face with the same person. Hence, a self-correcting, socially aligning machine had evolved.
Given this as a maxim--that wet, inclement weather increases the significance and enjoyment of social bonds, it is an easy hop logically to deduce the polar opposite--that a dry, inviting climate evokes isolation and disharmony amongst it's citizens.
Therefore, we have the perpetuation of asshole behavior in sunny, desirable climes such as Los Angeles, a readily apparent fact that nobody would argue.
Now, one might be seduced into concluding that an environment as arid as Arizona would produce a similar textbook effect, and I would be the last to testify that there is a drought of assholes there. Through logical back-pedaling, it would be simple to assume that the inhabitants of Scottsdale would conduct themselves as real sons-of-bitches.
However, the extreme heat of such a place necessitates a corollary effect generated by the man-made influence of air-conditioning. That is, we have instead a community again forced indoors that now unites, sharing a camaraderie of squandered pension funds, tales of youth, and photos of grandchildren.
Once again, gray enters where we had hoped for black and white, and logic fails us.
I recall, upon first moving to Los Angeles, a fascinating makeover in my own daily mood for the better, completely attributable to plentiful sunshine. This realization left me feeling somewhat belittled, as I had to concede to being strongly influenced by nothing more than weather.
After due reflection, I imagined my high school vocational counseling session going differently. Rather than hearing, "You do not have the mathematical skills required to consider a university degree in mechanical engineering, and should settle instead for a diploma program in motive power technology," the guidance counselor would merely have said, "Move where it's sunny."
As a logical suggestion, this would have proved more valuable to him and I--more so him, as he would have later avoided the rain of fury that was my mother, unleashing violent clouds of venom on him--thunderclaps of "What gives you the goddamn right...?" and "You stay the hell away from my son!"
We ourselves can be formidable forces of nature. As inseparable from the weather as from each other, we are forced together--come rain or shine.
Posted by i,ROBERT at 8:01 PM