I woke up this morning feeling anti-corporate. A strange way to wake up, surely. Groggy, grumpy, chipper, hungover—all seem more reasonable. But no, my first thought upon opening my eyes this morning was damn it, fuck the Man! This, due to two experiences yesterday evening, both of which must have burrowed into my subconcsious right before beddy-bye . First, reading a short article in the newest issue of Seed about corporate lobbyists trying to own time. No, not the magazine, but time itself. Here is what Joshua Roebke wrote:
The earth's rotation is slowing—thanks, moon—and each day grows longer. So every year or two, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, a little-known cabal of geophysicists, tells the world to add a leap second to civic time so it can catch up. But the Sevice has some competition: A consortium of corporate interests wants to end our clocks's connection with the natural world by 2007—mostly because their global positioning satellites weren't programmed to deal with leap seconds. If they have their way, the earth will spin gradually out of phase with watches, until night becomes day (well, in 5,200 years sunrise will be just an hour later, but still.) More immediately, astronomers and other scientists who rely on the coordination of times for experiments are outraged that corporate interests might hijack time for their own purposes.
Okay, there's a lot missing here—who and what is this "consortium of corporate interests"—and Roebke makes the point that the change would be all but imperceptible to us. But I can't help but be with him on that but still—the audacity, the balls of business to want to change the way we record time because they can't wind the clocks on their satellites!
Second: last night I was at a bookstore and watched a celebrity drop $800 on books without batting an eye. Meanwhile I was standing in the aisles, pawing at the twenty in my pocket, wondering if I should buy the new book by Willam Vollmann or that darned copy of Seed. I had to weigh my immediate future: tomorrow I'm going to need coffee, and I really need a haircut. So I went for the $4.95 purchase. Then I stood in line for ten full minutes watching this woman buy about eight photography books, a mess of British tabloids, and smattering of nonfiction. I watched the total come to about $650, and then she sneezed out two more gargantuan art books that piled on another $150. Literally gargantuan, as in so big the store didn't have a bag that either book would fit. Eight Hundred Dollars later, I purchased my meager magazine as I watched her and her companion stumble and giggle their way out of the store. Nothing wrong with being wealthy, but I've never actually wacthed someone crap a grand out their ass and then giggle like they made a pooter. And—if I may extend this crass analogy—like your own stinky farts, it was a little awesome and a little gross.
And now here I am, the next morning, my disgust with wealth and corporate interest still lingering. I left my self-righteous Punk Rock anti-corporate snobbery behind long ago, but this morning it's there, underlying my typical pre-coffee curmudgeonliness. So what can I do but protest? No Starbucks today, no Coffee Bean, no Peet's. I'm going to the Delocator and I'm finding me a mom-and-pop coffee. It's that little, unrelated protest for protest's sake that will make me feel better (also, the caffeine). It won't make me richer and it won't take power away from corporate lobbyists; but it will give me a chance to savor the morning—something that will be harder to do in 5,200 years!—and it might give me stinky farts. Sometimes that's all the little guy can do.