Many, many years ago, I lived in Auburn, California, which is just east of Sacramento on your way up into the foothills of the Sierra. I'd lived in Sacramento itself, Curtis Park, for a short while, but most of my experience with the area is up in the foothills. All the TV stations were Sacramento stations. All the weather reports were from this total ditz on KCRA who would give you EVERY possible weather condition imaginable over the course of each of her forecasts, and this complicated matters when there were flooding problems, and always the explanations that this was why they let the water out of the reservoirs above them so early every year, because THIS could happen. Drove me NUTS.
THIS would happen anyway, whatever the level of the reservoirs, but they seemed to have this mystical belief that they could close the closed floodgates at the reservoirs and spare themselves the flooding. It would be 115° and Folsom would be about two feet deep with puddles and Sacramento was still rowing to the grocery store that winter. The best that could be said for this "system" was that the flooding might happen one storm later than it would have, but I'm being generous. NOW, nearly three decades later, I think Folsom is only a couple feet deep when it's full. Everybody forgot plum about the silting thing with rivers when they embarked on these nature-"taming" adventures.
You've heard geezers apologizing for not realizing that pouring your unwanted battery acid or the leftover paint or the dirty stuff from your oil change into a local stream was probably going to poison the environment. Now you hear it about the dams, but you also hear politicians promising funds to put the jobless to work repairing them, and the levees, even as it isn't going to happen, but you then forget all about the fundamental difficulty completely in the press of getting those bills paid. Nothing happens. Intelligent or stupid, which means it gets seriously worse in every case.
It all reminds me of when I was a toddler, just giddy with the miracle of life, how you could just build a house wherever you wanted and water came out of the taps and electricity ran your appliances and lights, and when you wanted to go to the grocery store, you could go to the banks that existed as money distribution centers for everyone going out to buy anything. Paradise. It was a beautiful world. Nothing bad ever happened, except in movies....
I noticed that. I was grateful for it. So reality came as a shock. It bothers me that there are so many out there who, clearly, never got that shock, still live in grateful—or ungrateful—trust in it. I mean, people might not ever even have thought to be grateful for it at any point, let alone realize the disasters looming once they found out how things worked....
They really might not have had any kind of mental process remotely approximating mine.
What do I do?