I have also read that the Pox was caused by accidentally coinciding climatic, economic, and sociological crises. It would be more honest to say that the Pox was caused our own refusal to deal with obvious problems in those areas. We caused the problems: then we sat and watched as they grew into crises. I have heard people deny this, but I was born in 1970. I have seen enough to know that it is true. I have watched education become more a privilege of the rich the basic necessity that it must be if civilized society is to survive. I have watched as convenience, profit, and inertia excused greater and more dangerous environmental degradation. I have watched poverty, hunger, and disease become inevitable for more and more people.
Overall, the Pox has had the effect of an installment-plan World War III. In fact, there were several small, bloody shooting wars going on around the world during the Pox. These were stupid affairs -- wastes of life and treasure. They were fought, ostensibly, to defend against vicious foreign enemies. All too often, they were actually fought because inadequate leaders did not know what else to do. Such leaders knew that they could depend on fear, suspicion, hatred, need, and greed to arouse patriotic support for war.
Amid all this, somehow, the United States of America suffered a major nonmilitary defeat. It lost no important war, yet it did not survive the Pox. Perhaps it simply lost sight of what it once intended to be, then blundered aimlessly until it exhausted itself.
What is left of it now, what it has become, I do not know.
After reading that passage, I quickly flipped to the front of the book to check the copyright date. 1998. The Pox that the character describes officially occurs between the years of 2015 and 2030. Not really that far from now. Looking at events since the publication of the book, one cannot help but wonder if this is our path. And I guess that it did not help matters in my mind, when I chose to watch the season finale of Salt and Pepa's show on VH1. In the finale, they traveled to New Orleans. And showed the utter destruction that still exists there. Two and a half years later.
Speaking of the South. Family. My dad's older sister is still around and she has been a great help. She has set up systems and routines at my dad's house that will hopefully make things less stressful for him. Their big sticking point has been weekends. She has arranged for someone to be present at the house on weekends so that if my dad needs to get away and do something relaxing -- like play golf. She keeps telling him that this is necessary or else he will burn out quickly. She should know. She has many years of being a primary caregiver -- for her husband and my grandmother. That's why I knew that I wanted her to come out here to help out. Plus she's kind of bossy.
On a happier note (I just say this because things are still up in the air as to my stepmother's condition. She has lost some ground since getting out of rehabilitation.), things are going really well with my new position. And I've been doing things that I enjoy once more. Like going out. And reading.
Oh, and Nat, you can dismiss your Outlook reminder this month. I remembered since I now have enough of a routine once more that I do things like look at the calendar.