340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Teething and seething.

When I was in my early 20s, there were two people I really disliked. Which is to say, there were many people I disliked but only two are germane to my point. One was a friend of a friend, a handsome know-it-all with an aloof, impatient demeanour. The other was a professor with a well-earned reputation for irritability, arrogance and dismissive condescension. I would eventually learn that both individuals were in constant pain due to chronic medical conditions.

B's been teething heavily for about a month and a half now. Eight teeth have pushed through the skin but the rest are cusping: perpetually on the verge of blossoming into her mouth, they remain just below the surface, jagged edges pressed against frayed nerve endings.

Although daytime distractions are usually sufficient to keep her smiling and pleasant, evenings are much harder: already exhausted and prone to mood swings, she becomes newly conscious of her throbbing gums and can no longer ignore the constant subdermal assault.

We manage her pain as well as we can, but the stress and fatigue are taking their toll on all of us. I can't wait for this particular phase of toddler-hood to end.

* * *

Speaking of B, for her birthday this year Pacanukeha posted a link to an excellent article in The Guardian. "Ethical shopping is just another way of showing how rich you are" is an acerbic breakdown of the problems inherent to so-called "green consumerism" and the pervasiveness of our sense of entitlement vis-à-vis consumption and property. Succinct, original and merciless in its critique of bourgeois "capitalactivism", this piece is a must-read.

Green consumerism is becoming a pox on the planet. If it merely swapped the damaging goods we buy for less damaging ones, I would champion it. But two parallel markets are developing - one for unethical products and one for ethical products, and the expansion of the second does little to hinder the growth of the first. I am now drowning in a tide of ecojunk. Over the past six months, our coat pegs have become clogged with organic cotton bags, which - filled with packets of ginseng tea and jojoba oil bath salts - are now the obligatory gift at every environmental event. I have several lifetimes' supply of ballpoint pens made with recycled paper and about half a dozen miniature solar chargers for gadgets that I do not possess.

Last week the Telegraph told its readers not to abandon the fight to save the planet. "There is still hope, and the middle classes, with their composters and eco-gadgets, will be leading the way." It made some helpful suggestions, such as a "hydrogen-powered model racing car", which, for £74.99, comes with a solar panel, an electrolyser and a fuel cell. God knows what rare metals and energy-intensive processes were used to manufacture it. In the name of environmental consciousness, we have simply created new opportunities for surplus capital.


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