Before I get into today’s screed, I have to admit there’s little I can say or write that hasn’t already been said or written regarding the US Supreme Court’s impending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. If you’ve read me in these precincts over the last ten years, you likely know precisely where I stand on the subject of abortion. I will, though, contribute this to the discourse: There are tons of people in this holy land who are scared to death of the reality that many, many, many American women in the 21st Century like to fuck.
Is that too coarse a concept for you? It doesn’t matter because it’s true.
Okay, that’s out of the way. Now let’s talk about the weather. A fellow on Chicago radio the other day said only one of the last 43 days had been sunny. The skies have been similarly blah down here in South Central Indiana.
Now, there are those who say what’s the use of complaining about the weather? Why clog up social media with posts moaning about rain, carping about the cold, and other harrumphs about something none of us can do a thing about?
And that’s all true, except there’s a necessary therapeutic benefit to belly-aching about two-and-a-half weeks straight of overcast days or a week’s-worth of dreary drizzle. This country — and, for all I know, the world — right now is in the midst of a deep malaise. This pandemic era in which we try to sleep at night while cognizant of a mean-spirited social polarization, the panic that the war in Ukraine may be a harbinger of an eventual nuclear conflagration, the realization that we’re frying our planet due to our addiction to fossil fuels, and any of a few dozen other threats, menaces, rational or irrational fears, and fantasized bogeymen has created within us a dread, an absence of hope, a mass depression, for pity’s sake.
A recent study revealed Americans are having less sex than at any time in this century. Researchers are scratching their heads trying to figure out why. It doesn’t take a peer-reviewed, double-blind study conducted by Ivy League PhDs to get it: We don’t see much of a future right now. The world’s going to burn up, the political parties are going to war against each other, and who in the hell knows what virus is going to kill us next? Having sex is a celebration of the now — an indulgence in bliss — as well as a statement of belief in the future — we do it to have children or to express love for someone who just might become The One. Making love or simply having good old-fashioned casual sex is a luxury we can indulge in when we’re not terrified that the world’s coming crashing down all around us.
And that world, to be sure, seems indeed to be collapsing every which way we turn.
Hey, hon, whaddya say we head for the couch for some one-on-one?
Nah, I’m just not feeling it right now.
Yeah, y’know, neither do I now that I think about it.
We are, I’m certain, hip-deep in a global psychological depression. And when we in the Midwest see the sun about as often as an ivory-billed woodpecker, that depression can turn downright pathological.
Yeah, it’s true complaining about the weather fixes nothing. Yet venting about it gives us a degree, no matter how minuscule, of relief. If we whimper about, say, the end of Roe v. Wade, guaranteed there’ll be some kind of blowback, somebody somewhere is going to challenge us and gloat that at long last the Court is doing the right thing. If we whine about the Ukraine, somebody’s going to blame Joe Biden for it. If we sob about climate change and wildfires and disappearing ice shelves, somebody’s bound to say it’s all a hoax. If we howl about COVID, someone’s going compare mask mandates to the horrors of the Holocaust.
Everything’s a fight nowadays.
But should we gripe about the endless succession of grey days, at least everybody’s going to agree with us. And that company, that solidarity, helps us cope. The weather’s the only thing we can agree upon (save for those lunatics who think ice and frigid temps are wonderful — what in the hell’s wrong with those people?)
We need each other more than ever right now and maybe, just maybe, a month and a half of sunless afternoons is the only thing that’ll keep us from tearing each other’s throats out. That is, if we can resist tearing our own out.