I try to not let it get to me – that swishing, rumbling noise outside, with it’s undertone of a small motor humming relentlessly to itself – but I can’t help it. It’s been going on for the last two hours, maybe more, and the guy next door still hasn’t finished washing down his wooden decking. Gallons upon gallons of fresh drinking water, running in streams across the timber; kilowatts of electricity being sucked up by the pressure washer, causing the needless release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
It does get to me, it really does. Just like the people over the road who have just returned from their journey in their newly acquired luxury SUV, bought to augment the existing Lexus saloon they had because it just wasn’t big enough for two adults and two children with their acres of detritus; or maybe they just wanted to feel even more cosseted in their metal cocoon.
And it gets to me when I walk the children the three-quarters of a mile to school, being passed by the lady three doors down in her new Mini Cooper, driving to the exact same school, only to return to the same spot again 10 minutes later, having completed her arduous round trip amongst all the other school mums whose children have atrophied legs and minds – having no idea what lies in the outside world.
And it gets to me when I see another neighbour concrete over their front garden, having previously expressed a desire to do more gardening, yet being “forced” to create a hardtop haven for the two cars that this childless couple feel obliged to drive everywhere; the same couple that took 12 of their relatives to the Maldives for their tropical wedding experience.
But what gets to me most of all is that there is nothing I can do to change this – that these people will carry on doing the same things until they have realised that their mechanised, sanitised, synthesised lifestyles will not help them one bit after civilization crumbles away. They will be helpless – but I won’t be laughing because I will be gone by then, well away from the chaos of millions of people still depending on the system that they hope will save them from oblivion. They are beyond saving, in so many ways.
The guy next door is still at it – maybe he has to, because if he stops he might have to find some meaning in his life. If he got a stiff broom and a bucket there might still be a chance for him…but somehow I don’t think that will ever happen.