Climate Change Does Not Spark Joy
To the Glasgow contingent of the International Climate Strike where I march with thousands of truant schoolchildren, shouting “Fuck You, Boris Johnson!”
Look, they started it.
Among their midget ranks I loom like a benevolent periscope, admiring the sights from high above their heads and providing a convenient landmark for other marchers to orientate themselves. “Yes, Mum, I’m between the green flag and the geek.”
There are loads of great placards including “Earth is More Important Than Homework” and “Too Cool for School? Not In This Climate.”
The best one though (or at least the cutest) is a placard that shows Marie Kondo saying “Climate Change Does Not Spark Joy.”
This One’s Fine
I am afraid of spiders but delighted by ants. I always want to know more about ants–about their culture, the ways they communicate, what sort of music they’re into–but I don’t want to know anything about spiders. Even a picture of a spider lifts my intestines up into my chest as if I am in free-fall.
One day, in Montreal, Samara comes with me to the Bibliothèque Nationales, so that she can vet a big photographic book of ants for me in case there are any pictures of spiders.
I hide behind my hands and listen to her turning the pages one by one.
“That one’s fine,” she says, “that one’s fine, this one’s fine, oh this one’s adorable.”
“Thank you for doing this, honey,” I say, still hiding, and I wonder if she finds this charming or if it’s finally dawning on her what she’s got herself into.
“This one’s fine,” she says, “this one’s fine, this one’s… oh my GOD.”
“A spider?” I ask.
“Are they eating it?”
“They’re eating parts of it,” she says, “And parts of it are eating them.”
“I don’t want to see it!,” I say, tightening the gaps in my fingers, “And I don’t want to hear any more about it!”
“Shh!” someone says, “Tabarwet…”
I listen to Samara close the book and put it back on the shelf. I hear it slide tightly and firmly, safe between the other entomological quartos.
Sometimes, at night, I think of that book and the horror I know it contains, on the other side of the ocean, existing.
Samara asks what a tiny home ghost story would be like.
“Smol,” I say.
Once l’esprit de l’escalier has kicked in, I realise that, since the story would be set in a converted shipping container, it would have to be about the ghost of a stevedore stranded deep inland with a couple of earnest hipsters.
The ghost and the hipsters would have different points of view on, like, everything.
Ellison mentions a book called the Jingle Jangle Tales. I don’t know what it is and I don’t care but it makes me imagine Crump-esque novel based on real and imaginary Jimmy Savile crimes, “Jingle Jangle” being one of his puerile catchphrases. It really could work. Jingle Jangle Tales: What Jim’ll Did Next.
There’s a big black tomcat who sits in the window of a flat downstairs. All he ever does it sit there on the back of a couch, watching people come and go with his big, golden eyes.
We call him Owly because (a) he looks a bit like an owl, and (b) we’re a pair of knuckle-heads.
Anyway, I’ve not seen him for a while. I hope he hasn’t died or run away. But why would he run away when there’s so much owling to be done?
That’s what we say he does, owling. He’s owling out into the street, burning holes into walls and through hedges with his piercing golden gaze.
“I saw Owly,” Samara might say when she comes in from work.
“Was he owling?” I’ll ask.
“Yes,” she might say, “Almost took my eye out.”
I hope he’s alright because who would do the owling? I don’t want to get roped into it.