Sunday, December 03, 2006

Inflated Importance

It's a clear night. The clock says 12:30 and I make my preparations for bed. The house is quiet except for the shrill sound off in the distance coming though the open bathroom window. It is the sound of many small air compressors. In the last week, we have become nearly surrounded by a small army of inflatable holiday lawn decorations belonging to our neighbors.

In the yard behind us is a large polar bear attired in holiday finery. The house next to us offers another similar bear along with Santa and a snow man. Some of these figures have been installed upon this neighbor's roof where they peer down at the young children playing in the yard. Apparently, having a lit, brightly colored 6 foot tall polar bear installed upon the lawn did not provide for sufficient visibility.

Thankfully, the high winds have finally subsided, calming my fears about having inflatable Santa and his integral compressor drop through the sunroof of my prized Mazda.

I'm alone at this hour. Just me and the compressors. I have time to think. What I'm thinking is that Americans are already using a disproportionate amount of the world's energy. With warnings about global warming a daily occurence, when exactly will Americans acknowledge their impact? When will they begin to behave to mitigate environmental impact, assuming that mitigation is still possible.

Americans have now expressed their distaste for the continuation of events in Iraq, the message made clear with the last election. But if Americans would like to see the end of what is, at least in part, a war for control of oil, why hasn't their useage of oil changed? While higher gas prices drove Americans to smaller vehicles, the trend began to reverse itself when costs fell.

When will Americans begin to take responsibility for their actions?

While I sat and thought, the shrill sound of the air compressors continued through the night.


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