Storytime: I am Extensive.

November 18th, 2015

I am extensive, let me count the mes.

I am garments. I am cotton and polyester and rubber and denim, sewed and stitched and woven together by a hundred hands in ten giant factories that are also basically prison camps, all for a low, low overhead and many bruised and scarred heads. I am double-layered occasionally and I am wind-resistant when necessary. And let’s not even get into the dying of things. Ten thousand years ago agriculture was created and its penultimate product is my pants.

I am education. A truly staggering amount of informal knowledge swamping and surging over the bows of a tiny half-a-raft of essays piloted by the shipwrecked rubble of a salty-faced professor who is cursing at the wider world. They’re dragging as much information as they can carry, and it’s not enough, and it’s in danger of cutting loose. Centuries of boiling and puzzling and confusing and lying, all lost before it even reaches port and a willing ear. Huge shoals of pop culture lurk just beneath the prow; somewhere, an irrelevant earworm breaches itself and swamps a lecture in meaningless froth.

I am hunger. I eat pigs that ate crops that ate land that ate water and it was all transported on the back of a beast that ate oil. Which, itself, is plankton that time’s gotten indigestion all over. When my stomach rumbles, I open the fridge and chew up half the world. When my brain whines, I turn on a computer and rip open the other half like a recalcitrant orange. In both cases, I’m just speeding up the heat and cooking us all, but iced cream and iced poles are treats for children. Not our children, though. They’re getting scorching sea levels and tsunamis for Christmas to celebrate the birth of El Niño, read the E-manuel for further information and despair.

I am biology and sociology. Arising from a random chance of parents that are a random chance pairing that each resulted from a random chance pairing on and down and on and down until we’re all someone’s cousin, cousin. Won’t catch me calling on you at Thanksgiving though, thanks. Nobody can buy that many presents so we’ve all agreed to care about different things and people so we don’t go nuts for birthdays; the trouble is that we don’t seem to have much left to talk about anymore and well you know how opinionated people get about holidays and the next thing you know cousin Jeb’s blown out a blood vessel and it’s all over but the screaming.

I am housing. I am a roof over my head and the concept of a roof and the associated valuation of this within my given society, which means timber and mining and indoor dining and asphalt and foundations and cement and electricians and plumbers and mailboxes and setting garbage out where the foxes/can’t get it.
The raccoons will, though. Can’t stop the raccoons. They’re too much like us to ever be stopped properly. We won’t let that stop us though.
Can’t do much about the fish, mind you. Poor fish. All carbonated like yesterday’s ginger ale, flat and lifeless. Just like we like our landscapes. Suburban.

I am extensive. Every single thing I do and touch has ten thousand years of human history (bare minimum) and involves things being shuffled around tens of thousands of units of measurement that I don’t understand and undergoing processes I’ll never know to put them into places I never see to do things I don’t notice. I am looking out every window I’ve ever remembered and the view is one that has been carefully put together for me, just me, by accident by people I’ve never thought of in times and places that aren’t there anymore.
I am extensive. And so are you. All seven billion and counting of you.

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