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Arkell's Ark: I Don't Care

What is it about humans that they love living in a perpetual state of angst?'' wonders Ian Arkell.

I think Iíve had a brief glimpse of what itís like when you die.

A guy leaned over, told me he was starting the anaesthetic and thenÖthat was it. A half hour or whatever later and Iím in that state where youíre awake but the self control hasnít kicked in. Itís when you give serious consideration about telling the nurse sheís got a beautiful body or lovely skin or something equally stupid.

No white lights, tunnels or departed relatives telling you how this place is great and that theyíve got cable and get to speak to the boss whenever. Wasnít a lot of gnashing of teeth or wailing either for that matter. No dreams, I didnít have to get up for the toilet, no rap music booming out from passing cars, nothing.

Best thing was I didnít have to listen to anything about global warming and the climate change circus. I am up to here with this whole damn debate. You want me to be brutally frank? I mean one hundred percent ďI kid you notĒ honest? I donít give a damn. Iím just at the stage I donít care. Yeah, Iíve heard it before. I should be concerned because weíre all going to burst into flames in a year or so, future generations are doomed and that flooding is going to take out whole countries. Gimme a break.

What is it about humans that they love living in a perpetual state of angst? We were seconds away from nuclear death in the fifties and sixties, millions of Asian communists were going to sweep into Australia if Vietnam fell in the seventies and then later there was a better than even money chance that AIDS would grab the rest of us. Now weíve got swine flu. Happy days.

Then we have to worry about the rainforests, the whales, the Australia- specific guilt about our treatment of the Aboriginals andÖandÖyou know the drill. When does it stop? Why have we made our lives so unbelievably complicated and guilt ridden?
On the global weather thing however, I did go through a period of caring. A brief period I have to admit. I read what I could; watched debates on TV, even spoke with a couple of people who had degrees in disciplines Iíd never heard of. Hundreds of experts, just as many opinions. All backed up with irrefutable proof.

I even ventured the revolutionary idea that the whole thing might be part of a mysterious phenomenon known as a weather cycle and that perhaps these things have been happening for the odd billion years or so and that maybe weíd just hastened it a few seconds or so by kicking all the stuff into the atmosphere. Wow, how dumb was that? I got the impression it was very dumb. Yeah, perhaps theyíre right. But if the temperature has only notched up another 0.8 of a degree in the last three hundred years or so, I donít think Iíll be reaching for the valium or running the warm bath anytime soon.

No, it must be hard-wired into us that we have to worry, or agonise over something or other. Or that we have to feel guilty for most of our adult life. Itís a real human thing isnít it? Either spend a life of regret about the past, about things we canít change or werenít responsible for, or live in a state or permanent apprehension about tomorrow or next week. When does it stop? Probably when the anaesthetic starts.

If youíre not too busy engaged in these sorts of activities, or over in the corner worrying, you can probably guess that I havenít yet dragged social awareness into the back seat of the car for a bit of heavy petting. Sure, when I was younger and without the benefit of hindsight, we got together a few times, had a few laughs. But I realised pretty early on that the relationship wasnít going to go anywhere. I sort of got the impression she was more concerned worrying about life than living it. And donít you hate people like that?


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