But, like, how do you go, you know, outside? Like to get from your house to your vee-hickle…

A beloved cube neighbor’s god-daughter flew home to Phoenix today (to meet her sister’s new baby). I guess you can fly *to* Phoenix. Flying *out* of Phoenix is apparently more of a challenge.

Okay, I know how to get from my house to my vee-hickle when it is 20 below zero. I put on every layer of winter clothing I possess and head out the door. It isn’t exactly a picnic to be outside at that temperature even for a short period of time but it can be done. 120 degrees? I cannot quite imagine it. Isn’t that the temperature when you put your oven on warm?

Maybe that’s a starting point for the book I couldn’t muster the guzzinta to write about yesterday, Arcadia. Because climate change crept into the book at the end and, in my opinion, that was the weakest theme in an overall gorgeous novel about growing up on a “hippie commune” and continuing life after the commune eventually came apart at the seams.

A dystopian utopia, to steal a phrase from Lizard Breath. I remember being a teenage hippie-wannabe although even then, I think I knew that communal living wasn’t really a good fit for me. The downsides to communal living portrayed in the book reaffirmed that feeling, mainly lack of food, cramped living areas in old vans and things, sharing rustic bathroom facilities with tooooo many people, struggling to figure out a way to become profitable. And yet, I loved the protagonist and many of the characters. I identified with how much they loved that beautiful piece of land and how hard many of them tried to make the commune work successfully. How some of them succeeded post commune and some did not and, well, read it.

I was never a hippie living on a commune but I experienced some of the best of that world spending summers at the moominbeach with my extended family. Running back and forth to my cousins’ cabins and opening the door WITHOUT KNOCKING! Afternoons on the beach when our mothers would confer after a Beer Lunch about making a “community” dinner and then mobilize to make it happen. Sharing boats and toys and things with other people (up to a point). Using outhouses. And yet the moominbeach was lightly populated, not to mention it was *private family land* and all of our parents had “real jobs” and we only lived like that in the summer. Come Labor Day, those of us who hadn’t already left the beach for Real Life in far-flung places would pack up our bushel baskets and head to town, back to our “real” houses in Sault Ste. Siberia, ready to start another school year.

Climate change and the book. I do not want to go into climate change today. I am NOT a denier but I am a pragmatist and I have complicated thoughts about the issue although I TOTALLY agree with reducing the kinds of activities that accelerate climate change (and 120 temps really freak me out!). I thought that Arcadia was a solid story without anything about climate change. But I may have missed something. Maybe the author is thinking about writing another book in which climate change is more relevant to the story? That might be cool! Read Arcadia for yourself and see what you think. As I said, I LOVED the book.

One Response to “But, like, how do you go, you know, outside? Like to get from your house to your vee-hickle…”

  1. Margaret Says:

    We’ve had a lousy winter (cold and horribly rainy) and it’s just starting to get nice now with temps in the 70s and 80s. I cannot imagine 120 or even living in a place where it routinely got over 100. I love to be outside too much to tolerate that. (and I hate air conditioning!)