It Starts with an Earthquake

Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives

 

“And we decline.”

Sometimes we pay for our past mistakes and often times the punishment is capricious and non-judgmental. For a while there seemed as if an emergence from this stubborn storm was inevitable.

Portland is known the city on the cutting edge of all things green It is not winter by definition; it is just the new definition of winter. This as much to the surprise of most of the local television stations in town. Zapphino at KGW said the Portland Metro area should look forward to a return to normal rainy weather. A very small percentage of their long-term models indicated this weather could turn drastically for the worst. Surprisingly, the local news station were not slinging their usual hyperbola. Even the hipsters were sick of being so abnormal. It was time to thaw out and get back to normal surreal life. It was what they wanted to hear. Then there was Lars Larson less than left spew on the radio, assuring his listeners that everybody was wrong about global warming. This storm was proof of it. Why let the sorry truth get in the way of a good story. It was a tepid one at best. For those listening to KBOO, whose mission is to serve groups in its listening area who are, underrepresented on other local radio stations and to provide access to the airwaves for people who have unconventional or controversial tastes and points of view. KBOO broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has been on the air since 1968. They broadcast a weather forecast every hour just telling it like it is. Well telling it like it is considering the KBOO was mostly volunteer and those on staff,only a few had taken classes in meteorology. It was far too technical.

 

The weather is capricious in this demon-haunted world. We have heated this planet to the edge of destruction. We have no weather people on our staff; our budget does not allow it. The station calls for warming weather in the next 48 hours. These stations tell the people what they want to hear. We at KBOO say, be afraid of this weather. We have a hunch we will drift into yesterday.

 

Opal heard this forecast as she stood on her balcony focused on the streets looking over the Hollywood district. She loved her apartment for the view. She scoured the view in front of her and she noticed the lights were bright and clear. As she listened to the KBOO forecast the lights started to slowly dim from her view. The lights were now dull green apostrophes in the night. A cold wind blew in her face and she knew she had to head inside. It was suddenly yesterday. It was suddenly very cold and she knew she should have gone to the store earlier. Then again, she was going to be okay as the sudden cold air leaked in through the bare budget flimsy windows. She walked into the kitchen and was a tad bit alarmed. This weather was like nothing she had seen before. KBOO’s radio forecast alarmed her multiplied by the fact that she eaten one of her brownies ninety minutes ago. She was buzzing and confident just five minutes ago and now, she was simply scared. This weather outside was now two, maybe ten standard deviations from the norm. She felt a little philosophical, a little mathematical in her self-induced nightly coma. The room soon started to surround her. She recognized when she felt cold she would soon be fast asleep. She fought off the Pavlovian response. She took a quick personal inventory and realized she was not that tired. Rather she was simply cold. Not to knock subsidized housing, most houses in Portland did not withstand such cold.

 

It was not really that cold in the apartment. The world around her was frigid. This weather suddenly was beyond recognition. She sat back down and heard a subtle tap at her door. She rationalized that as part of her stoniness, she sometimes imagined sounds in her head. Opal answered the door anyways.

 

“Tap Tap”, once again as she walked slowly to the front door. She unlocked the dead dolt and the gold chain that had always been there. She never noticed until now as this was the first time she had to use it. She did not even remember locking it.

 

She looked out through the six-inch gap that the door would afford and much to her surprise there stood Cabot, looking jocular, cold and rosy. Opal was so glad to see Cabot, as he was her sponsor. He was her guiding light. When she opened the door, she was also reassured at how the weather had made a change for the worse. KBOO had just posted its weather forecast once again. Her reality altered, (stoned) more than she wanted to be, now that Cabot had invaded her private space. It was a space she reserved for herself. She never had visitors.

 

The weather is capricious in this demon-haunted world. We have heated this planet to the edge of destruction. We have no weather people on our staff; our budget does not allow it. The station called for warming weather in the next 48 hours. These stations tell the people what they want to hear. We at KBOO say, be afraid of this weather. We have a hunch we will drift into yesterday.

 

She remembered the last few days vividly. It was a quirk in the cosmos and she rather enjoyed the futile onslaught of winter. A station heard by so few. Opal certainly was not their target audience. A quirky little tune came on the radio.

 

It’s so very sad that I prefer to sleep in a Hollywood bed
And it’s so very sad that I prefer a love so miserably led
Well, what did you want?

Would you rather have this in a different font? I don’t know

I’m happy to say that I am forever changing my ways
For there is nothing else to spill except a demi-format bottle of pills
Well, what did you want?
Would you rather have this in a different font? Oh, no, no

Is this the end? Has our time come and gone?
It’s like every book we’ve read and every film we saw
La, la, la, la, la
If this is how our world must fall apart

No sewing kits to mend our broken hearts
Clearly there’s no point in this pretense
Still we’re left to find out how it ends
How will it end? Is this the end?

It was by great band from Canada. The Dears, only those listening to obscure noncommercial radio in the states would grow to appreciate. Canada knew better.

 

Then suddenly it felt like the end. Cabot, lumbered in the front door and lunged comfortably. He reached out and hugged Opal. In the middle of his lunge a loud crash sounded rumbled like thunder but felt more like an earthquake. The radio went dead and a second later, the lights flickered and then flickered again. Then the room went completely dark. Then the city seemed to go quiet. Cabot and Opal held each other for what seemed like a long time.

 

“This weather is pretty bloody crazy Opal.” Cabot said and suddenly realized he was no longer holding onto her. When did she slip out of his grip? He walked toward the window in the bedroom. It was the obvious place most people would look after such a loud explosion. Predictably he tripped loudly and awkwardly on his way to the window and stumbled, then crumbled to the ground hitting his head violently, albeit luckily, on what he assumed were the sofa cushions. He lay there for what once again felt like forever. Time seemed to grind to a halt, and then he slowly stumbled to his feet.

 

His last two hours in the Moon and Six Pence he assigned the blame. Another Pavlovian response because he had only nursed one beer. It was a weird vibe in the Moon and Sixpence. There was a lot of gloom and doom. The pub was filled with people more well spoken than him. There as probably not a god worshipper amongst them. He felt bad for thinking this. Even though nobody would hear what he thought. His scattered and totally out of context mind teetered between comfortable dreamland.

 

He regained his senses and reached down to see what had tripped him. He searched in the dark and ignored the feel of the sofa once again. Then he came to his senses and realized he had fallen over Opal. Her body felt warm despite the coldness that penetrated the room.

 

“Sorry Cabot my man, Cabot I love all things that  are good. I guess I am a little higher than I calculated.” Opal suddenly realized it was something she should not have said to her councilor, mentor and therapist. She sat and stared out the top of the window. she could see from her vantage point. She saw nothing. Then she let her focus settle. She could see the ashen lingering light of residents smoking below. She had no idea what they were smoking. Actually, she assumed she knew what they were smoking.

 

She was free because it felt that the world had ended. Unfortunately, it had not.

 

She felt a warm breath on her shoulder. She turned and accepted a voice that was familiar and when she heard it, it was so far away.

 

“Opal I know it seems like the world is coming to an end. If it does we will get through it” Cabot replied with subtle sardonic inflection . He was somehow expecting a turn of events of epic proportions.

 

Opal responded with a laugh that was much larger than she was.

 

“I love science. I just need to understand it.”

Cabot added, “Or believe it as if it was religion.”

“Yeah my own personal Jesus” Opal added as she fought off sleep.