Killing Stereo Equipment with Hydrophonics
Yesterday, I told a friend about an NPR report on a book called The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. The book was inspired by the 2004 earthquake in Indonesia, which “was so powerful that it accelerated Earth’s spin, shortening the day by a tiny fraction of a second.”
As NPR reporter Maureen Corrigan notes, the protagonist, Julia, takes us back to “the year everyday life fell apart. At first, Julia tells us, nobody noticed ‘the extra time, bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath skin.’ That so-called extra time is caused by the fact that the Earth’s rotation is growing more and more sluggish. When scientific experts finally do go public to acknowledge the mysterious change, they call it ‘the slowing.’ Daytime stretches first by minutes, then hours, and, then, days; so, too, does nighttime.”
Corrigan continues: “After ‘the slowing’ is officially acknowledged, there’s an immediate run on canned food and water, and people begin building underground survival shelters. Birds fall from the sky, and whales wash up on beaches — their navigation systems all messed up by the changes in gravity and temperature. Apocalyptic cults flourish, and a rift widens between those folks called ‘real timers,’ who stubbornly decide to live by the extended rhythms of sunrise and sunset, and the majority of Americans, who obey the president’s orders to carry on in semi-denial and stick to the 24-hour clock. As Julia recalls, ‘We would fall out of sync with the sun almost immediately. Light would be unhooked from day, darkness unchained from night.’”
Back to my friend and me. In response to my ramblings about this book, my friend (I’ll call him “Bobby Joe”) informed me that he has cultivated knowledge of how to survive an apocalypse.
“Do you know anything about hydroponics,” Bobby Joe asked me.
“No,” I told him.
“Then you’re going to die.”
“Can I assume that hydroponics has something to do with pouring water on stereo systems?”
“So if hydrophonics involves pouring water on stereo systems, what exactly is hydroponics?”
“Seriously, you’re going to die.”
In short, I apparently need to learn how to desalinate water and cultivate plants in inarable land. I’m also supposed to watch Ben Affleck mumble his way through a 13-part PBS documentary called The Voyage of the Mimi aimed at educating middle-schoolers.
“Your science teachers failed you,” Bobby Joe told me.
“Actually, I got pretty good grades in science,” I said.
“That’s not what I meant.”
“I don’t understand.”
“That much is obvious.”