Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 29, 2009

Beam Me Up? I don’t THINK so!!

©2009 by Donna Cunningham

100degrees-a2d 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.)


 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!

banff-wikimedia 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.  hawaii-wikimedia

 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.

Art credits:  Images found at  Photo of Banff by Diderot. Hawaiian sunset by Curt Smith from Bellevue, WA, USA


  1. heh…I actually believe that whining about the weather contributes to Global Warming and other weird weather patterns. I’m in Australia and when we had extreme heat back in Jan-Feb, I really noticed the DJ’s on the radio, every 20 minutes with the “Geez, it ain’t ‘arf ‘hot, mum”. Quite hypnotic and I am sure that other people felt hotter each time they got inoculated with the “It’s so hot…gasp…cough….water…water” message.

    I find if I do not know what the actual temperature is, I don’t tap into the sweaty collective unconscious. As Billy Connelly says: there is no such thing as bad weather; just the wrong clothes.

    Hot day = cold shower
    Cold day = hot bath.

    • Hi, Anita! I absolutely agree with you and generally refuse to look up the temperature–whether hot or cold–because it’s a psychological overload. It’s just that this heat is so out of the ordinary here.
      I’ll tell you what else I believe. I believe we were way better off before they invented the wind chill factor. That is just TMI, because it eats into your bones much more deeply than the actual temperature. Donna

  2. You should head up here to Seattle, then! It was only 104, and it’s a cool 89 right now. Refreshing, right? Sigh.

    It’s hotter here than it is at home in Miami… the weather gods are mocking us.

  3. Too Funny Donna. It was 110 in my very Cool back yard. I’m so glad it was short lived. I Climatize very slowly and enjoy the 72-82 degree wether the best. No need to visit my daughter this year for warm tempteratures. I wonder how it was in Vegas. We are back to overcast and everyone is back to normal. Thanks for the laugh.

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