Although the jury may still be out on this, I fervently believe we are in the stifling death grip of global warming. I remember a time when summers in New York City were mostly bearable, at least until August, but this year the heat wave started in June and shows no signs of dissipating. But what really struck fear in my heart was when the neighboring borough of Queens had a blackout that lasted over a week, and started, as I recall, on a day when the temp rose to over 100 degrees. Businesses lost thousands of dollars and residents were left with no lights, no elevators, no refrigeration, and no air conditioning during a period of virtually unrelenting heat and humidity.
Somehow people survived, but I am left with a feeling of fear and dread about how the rest of the summer may play out. I spend most of my time indoors in air-conditioned comfort, and going out at all makes me feel like I'm going to collapse in a heap. The A/C, the computer, and the TV are my lifelines, and without them I would be lost. Reading, writing, thinking, and sleeping would be a thing of the past for me if the power blew out, and I'd be reduced to a miserable, animal-like condition where sheer survival would be the order of the day.
If a power outage can turn normal life upside down, the specter of another terrorist attack and how radically it might affect everyday life is even more – well — terrifying. Although New York City is mostly exempt from hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, and devastating floods, since 9/11 it is impossible to deny the city is vulnerable to another man-made disaster. The vision of what might be is always in the back of my consciousness. It's the kind of realization that makes it hard for me to plan too far in advance or to take for granted things will not fall apart in the future — perhaps even the near future. And then there's the rest of the war-torn world.
If you talk to Newt Gingrich, for example, you will find that he — and undoubtedly others — maintain that we are already in the midst of World War III. And it's not hard to fathom that we are major players — and targets — in this horrific game.