Thursday, May 04, 2006

Malls doing their bit for global warming

As far as I can tell, there are three reasons one might find oneself in a shopping mall, viz:

1) One is hopelessly lost;
2) One has to buy something that cannot possibly be bought in a reasonable, human-scale place;

3) One is prepared to go to prison for outrageous and illegal situationist behaviour that being in a mall tempts one to participate in.

I needed a heater. I received a welcome SMS text message from Ireland at about 2.45 am this morning, to inform me that there had been an 8.1 Richter earthquake off Tonga and there was a tsunami alert. (Why do they always say 8.1 "on the Richter Scale"? We never say "29 on the Fahrenheit Scale", "240 on the Watt Scale" or "12 on the Inches Scale". So I always say "8.1 Richter" and expect that the world will one day catch up.)

As I live about one metre above sea level, I spent the next two hours online trying to find the latest reports. By nearly dawn the authorities had assured the populace of Australia's east coast that there was no tsunami expected. My fishpond is safe. This was good, as my car's petrol tank was empty and at that time of day there are no petrol stations open here in the boondocks. Even if one has money to buy fuel, which I didn't.

Anyway, in the hours before dawn it was cold here. Unfortunately, most of my cabin has just one layer of fibro (asbestos cement -- aaagghhh!!) nailed onto the studs, so there's no insulation. Today was dole day so I decided to splurge and buy a heater. I wish I didn't have to, but a man mustn't freeze to death when he has loyal readers to attend to.

The car prize, or prize car

In the shopping mall there was a shiny new car (I think it was a four-wheel drive [4WD or 4X4, or what the Americans call a SUV], but I know bugger-all about cars so I might be wrong) and a lot of obese people milling around. The car was about 50 per cent larger than would be required by any family smaller than that of Ma and Pa Kettle. It could probably only seat about five people but was as big as a train carriage. Your typical modern behemoth mode of transport.

An over-made-up early middle-aged woman in a blue uniform -- you don't need me to describe that superannuated air hostess visage -- came up to me (that alone was enough to give me the heeby-jeebies and if you knew my life story you would understand why) and asked me if I wanted to have a free ticket to win the vehicle.

"No thank you," I replied.

"No?!" was her response. The exclamation and queston marks signify her utter surprise. The question "Why on earth wouldn't you?" was understood.

"That car looks like it's doing its bit for climate change," I responded. She obviously couldn't comprehend that someone would find it unethical to try to get such a mode of transport.

I left that poor woman with a look on her face that I hope will have dissolved by the time she gets back to the car dealership where she works, or else they might have her committed, or maybe dock her pay for wearing wrinkles on the job.

Anti-SUV bumper stickers :: Anti-SUV links

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