The Comfort of Time Loops in the Age of Climate Crisis
Unlike these stories, we don’t have decades of do-overs—especially on the West Coast, where the droughts are real and the big earthquake could shake things loose anytime.
For hundreds of miles, Kelsey and I whizzed down I-90 through a dolorous haze. Wildfire smoke had made its way coast to coast, and we were a two-car caravan stuck in the middle—her in our white Ford Fusion hybrid with our travel-averse dog, Lucy; me following along in our new second car, a maroon Ford Escape, loaded to the gills with U-Haul boxes and loose clothes. We’d purchased the Escape in a panic—in the pandemic, used cars were selling like lightning—and though I hated the idea of an SUV, another hybrid was out of our price range. We were driving west after lengthy visits with my family in Michigan and hers in Illinois, part of a multiweek move from Tallahassee to Tacoma, where I had accepted a new job. For segments of the drive, I had neither a full sense of the sheer breadth of land we covered nor any true gauge of the direction. Drive in a straight line long enough and it feels like you could be going anywhere. As we passed from state to state, I accumulated a bag of recyclables: cardboard coffee cups, to-go containers, anything from our travels that I could avoid dumping in a trash can. The whole process of moving didn’t so much have me fretting about my carbon footprint; I was past that, fully nauseated over an enormous carbon body slam. Each day in transit, I wondered how I might use less. And when those ideas fell short, I dreamed of starting over, of choosing better. I know I’m not alone in thinking like this. Communal dread over the climate crisis is growing, and I see this anxiety increasingly reflected by the media I consume.
Is the kitchen trash can already full again? How many times have I flushed the toilet today? What will it take for me to change?
End of the World House
I told you so
Palm Springs Groundhog DayPalm SpringsEnd of the World House
Groundhog DayPalm Springs
Aram Mrjoian is a visiting assistant professor in creative writing at Pacific Lutheran University and an editor-at-large at the Chicago Review of Books. He is a 2022 Creative Armenia - AGBU Fellow. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Electric Literature, Boulevard, Gulf Coast online, The Rumpus, The Millions, Longreads, and many other publications. Find his work at arammrjoian.com.
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As a child growing up in a landlocked state, I’d imagined the flock of gulls as a cloud of wings, calls sounding like laughter. Now I was struggling to grasp all that we’d lost.