Saunders Does Climate Change

A day in the life of George Saunders, a few years from now:

Syracuse, New York, where I live, is famous for its brutal winters. We’re having one now. Although it’s been a strange year, weatherwise, given “global warming” and all. (Thanks Mr. Gore, for inventing that!) Yesterday it was a nice mild summer day, about 150 degrees – I’d just come inside from mopping up the puddle that was formerly Keith, our postman – when suddenly, I could feel it in my bones, that good old “Ah, winter’s a-coming!” feeling.

And I was right.

Suddenly the temperature dropped – three hundred degrees in one hour, a local record! It was so lovely, I couldn’t resist putting my work aside and donning special clothing purchased from NASA and taking a stroll through this “winter wonderland.” It was gorgeous: the neighborhood cats, converted to ice-cats in mid-stride, four pert little robins literally frozen to death on a clothesline, little beaks open in mid-peep.

I guess I’m just a sucker for the “pastoral.” Across the street, here was old Mrs Clark, bending to pick up her newspaper, grouchy look frozen on her face, reaching back absent-mindedly to scratch her – it was really too bad. I liked Mrs Clark. I mean, yes, she was always complaining – about Mr Clark, about the president not signing the Kyoto treaty, the kids running across her lawn, the way our lawmakers embrace pseudo-science to protect the big oil companies: a real malcontent – but still, you hate anyone to be instantaneously frozen, especially right out there where you can see them, cluttering up your beautiful winter view.

More Saundersian genius here. The piece originally appeared in Neue Zürcher Zeitung in March, and was reprinted on last weekend.