Facing facts — the car needed body work, and the planet does, too

by Rob Tiller

Clara restored in a moment of tranquility

Facing unpleasant facts is no fun, but you generally feel better after you’ve done it. And so I’m happy that I got my sports car repaired this week. I’d had not one but two embarrassing parking garage incidents recently. In one, I took a sharp a turn at an unfamiliar entrance, and hit an unusually high curb, producing a horrible scraping noise and an unsightly gouge. In the other, I (partially) woke up in the middle of the night, thought it was early morning, and headed out for a swim at Pullen Park. In my dazed state I backed into a neighbor’s parked vehicle. This broke a tail light on my car and produced lesser damage on his bumper, which he eventually determined was not worth repairing, in view of other prior dinks.

But part of what I enjoy about my car (Clara) is her beauty, and I knew I would never feel good trying to ignore the damage. So I contacted the good folks at State Farm insurance, and I found my way to Paragon Collision, which specializes in body work with loving care. The repairs took two weeks and two substantial deductibles, but it was worth it. Clara is gorgeous again.

I was sorry that my neighborhood gym, Rapid Fitness, closed this week. It was not a beautiful gym, but it was fabulously convenient — right across the street. And it was good enough to inspire me to regularly get up at 5:30 a.m. for a workout. It provided my introducing to spinning, which raised my heart rate to new heights. They are planning to open a less convenient replacement gym late in the summer. We’ll see.

Much more dramatic events were unfolding across the country this week, including floods on the Mississippi and killer tornadoes ranging across the country. On a quick trip to Dallas, I came in behind a massive hailstorm that totalled half the cars in the Hertz fleet at DFW and took a large number of planes there out of commission. The next day, when I was there, the skies were clear. The flight back was bumpy.

According to the NY Times, there is not a scientific consensus that the rash of bizarre weather disasters is associated with global warming, but you wonder, right? Anyhow, there is scientific consensus that global warming is occurring, and that absent dramatic change more disasters lie ahead. The News & Observer reported this morning that Republican presidential hopefuls, including those who have previously acknowledged the imperative of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, are now taking the position that science is wrong and there is no problem. One party operative said that a requirement for these Republican candidates to succeed is to oppose all solutions.

This is really appalling. To some extent we all step around hard problems, and kid ourselves about unpleasant realities. But this is huge — bigger even than mass catastrophe for the human race. We’re facing, or in the midst of, a mass extinction of species comparable to the end of the age of dinosaurs. Self-delusion is unacceptable, and willfully obscuring reality is reprehensible. We’ve got to face facts, and get to work on possible solutions.