©2009 by Donna Cunningham
Today we here in Portland, Oregon, head into our third straight day of Triple Digit temperatures, the third of maybe five to six, we are told. Yesterday it hit 106°, a record. And today, the television says it will be 107°, going down to only about 90° overnight. Another record.
What’s wrong with this picture? I live in the freaking Pacific Northwest! We don’t HAVE 107° temperatures. Our thermometers only go up to 98°, at which time the newscasts stop broadcasting the temperature for fear of losing credibility. A great many of us—myself included–don’t even own air conditioners. For just the week or two each summer that the weather rises above 90°, why give up the fresh air that wafts through our windows? (This last statement is absolutely true; you are free to speculate on what part of the rest of it is a mild to moderate exaggeration.)
(SPEAKING OF HITTING A HUNDRED, THIS PIECE MARKS ONE HUNDRED POSTS ON SKYWRITER! IF YOU’RE NEW HERE, BROWSE THE CATEGORIES AND ENJOY!)
Having used up most of my stay-cool strategies yesterday, and having finished my column for Dell Horoscope at 5:30 AM today to avoid writing in the heat, I am now applying an ice pack to my face and drifting off into fantasy. For the 3,807th time, I am avidly wishing they would master the technology that would allow them to BEAM ME UP!!! After all, the first Star Trek series debuted on September 8, 1966, and though I don’t know the date the first crew members were transported, it’s at least 40 years ago. How long does it take, I grumble, for technology to catch up?
So I begin daydreaming about where I’d be right now if I could just beam out of here. Somewhere cool. Upper Michigan? Alaska maybe? Isn’t the southern hemisphere experiencing what passes for winter among them? Skiing in the Andes? Basking at the shore of the Antartic Ocean inAdelaide, Australia? Even dress up warmly and see the AuroraAustralis – Antarctica, South Pole Station. All I know is, I wouldn’t be here for another minute!
Then the pleasant dream shifts, as dreams so often do, and quickly becomes a nightmare. What IF the technology had been perfected—what would happen then? I’d be beaming out of here, for sure. But so would thousands of other heat-afflicted folks.
I’d land on the transporter platform at Banff in the Canadian Rockies…at exactly the same time as 500 other thinly clad, sweaty, cranky competitors for the few hotel rooms left. The lines to get into the overpriced bistros would go around the block, and before you know it, the last croissant would be gone. Riots would break out at the ski lifts; people would be trampled at Starbucks. Wave after wave of tourists would pour off the transporter platforms, pushing and shoving to find accommodations.
No, definitely not Banff. Surely the North Pole would be safer, not so many adventuresome souls. The transporter tweedle de deedles us away, and we’re off to the North Pole, but 20,000 other people have had the same idea, and so, dog sleds long since having been commandeered by folks with more clout, we put on snow shoes and shuffle off to the Pole. Unfortunately there are so many people there that their combined heat is melting the ice cap, thereby accelerating global warming and the rise of the oceans.
Whole office buildings will be vacant on these record breaking days; doctor’s offices will close. Special events have always had a huge turnout, yet limited because of transitory concerns like parking access. Not so when the capacity for transporting is available. Times Square on New Year’s Eve? No problem getting there.
Will everyone be beaming here and there to escape extreme weather, be it cold or hot or flood or drought? Will everybody show up for the Presidential Inauguration? No, because not everyone will be able to afford it. Beaming up will not come cheaply–I’d guess that in order to be a Beamer, you’d need a 6-figure income.
So only the haves will go, descending upon the have nots who wait on them in places like that. The have nots will resent the haves even more, for possessing so cavalierly the technology to up and go someplace beautiful at a moment’s notice, just on a whim. It’s snowing, it’s February, and they’re outta here for the Big Island of Hawaii. Revenge on the haves will come out in hidden ways, like wait people spitting on their entree–even group spits by everyone in the kitchen at the time. Spitting will become so much a part of the dining experience that haves will complain if it’s missing….that certain something, some mysterious ingredient.
You get the gist: one of those Be Careful What You Wish For moments. On second thought, I am glad that God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit not to impart the secret of beaming us up. It might well mean more trouble than it’s worth.