Earth Hour last night was a raging success and it doesn’t matter that the surge caused by everyone switching their lights back on at the same time forced power stations to crank up their output levels so high that even the dolphins at uShaka Marine World were sweating.
To be frank, with the possible exception of Happy Hour, I am not overly interested in anything that lasts for only 60 minutes. The other thing is this. I have never felt particularly close to the human race and for me to join them en masse in a staged event of this magnitude would have felt like a deeply unnatural act.
Brenda, however, insisted that we put the lights off at 8.30pm. There is nothing worse than being lectured on global warming by someone who doesn’t know the facts, so I agreed if only to shut her up. Also, it meant the next generation wouldn’t be able to accuse me of not having done anything to save the planet. Not that the planet cares much for us, what with its capricious earthquakes, impulsive landslides and fickle volcanic eruptions.
“But I’m keeping the television on,” I said. If Brenda planned on sneaking up behind me, I wanted to see her coming. Earth Hour – there is no better time to kill your spouse. I can see the secretary-general of the National Union of Housebreakers making a note in his diary. Indeed. South Africa might not be the best country in which to encourage people to switch off all their lights at a predetermined time.
I was deep into the movie when the doorbell rang. It has to be said that when a doorbell rings in a darkened house in the middle of a horror film, no good can come of it. Wives will scream and husbands will curse. Cats will get tripped over and dogs will bark like creatures possessed.
Brenda found the front door and shouted hysterically into the night: “Who’s there?”
A shrill voice pierced the air. “Hi! Just wanted to let you know you have a light on upstairs and there’s still half an hour to go. It would be FABULOUS if we could all just pull together, you know?”
Brenda apologised and went upstairs to switch off the bathroom light. I was so incandescent with rage that my face went thermal and lit up the lounge in an eerie red glow.
How dare this … this stranger interrupt my movie to tell me to put all my lights off! I turned on Brenda, snarling, demanding to know why she was dancing to this incomprehensibly rude intruder’s tune. “Did she say she was with the Earth Police?” I shouted. “Why didn’t you ask to see some ID?”
My nerves shattered, movie ruined and evening in tatters, I went around the house switching the lights back on, ranting and raving like a Palestinian suicide bomber who made it all the way to Tel Aviv only to find that he had left the detonator on the kitchen counter at his uncle’s house back in Gaza.
Brenda got her back against the wall and watched me warily.
Who, in their right mind, would go around in the middle of the night ringing other peoples’ doorbells to tell them they have a light on and that, in the interests of stopping the polar ice caps from melting, they should turn it off? Those are the actions of a certifiably crazy person – a person who you should legally be entitled to shoot.
It is sanctimonious, overweening, self-appointed and almost certainly hypocritical eco-cops like this who make otherwise rational people like me want to wake up in the morning and spray cans of deodorant at the ozone layer. They make me want to start up my car and let it idle in the driveway for an hour or two every day and they make me want to leave my carbon footprint all over their officious little ferret faces.
Unless you are wearing a uniform, carrying a gun and have a warrant for my arrest, don’t think you can ring my doorbell and tell me what to do. The next time it happens, I swear, the planet gets it. And you will be responsible.