December 8, 2009 | 12:39 pm
Posted by Tiferet Peterseil
“When an estimated 16,500 delegates, activists and reporters descend upon Copenhagen Monday for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, a lot of hot air will follow.
The U.N. estimates that the 12-day conference will create 40,584 tons of carbon dioxide roughly equivalent to the carbon emissions of Morocco in 2006.” (By Michelle Malkin, www.michellemalkin.com)
It all started at about midnight, when I found myself “sleepless in Tel-Aviv”. I’d had a rough day, but it didn’t help much when I tried to wind down reading the news on the Internet.
“SAVE THE PLANET” was this morning’s newspaper headlines in Israel, and 55 other newspapers spread over 45 different countries. I think this is one of the few times I can remember Israel and the rest of the world coming together to agree on anything. I skim through articles covering the 12-day “United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen”. It seems amazing to me, that despite all their differences, leaders from around the globe have united on one front—to save our planet. But realizing Armageddon may be on the horizon doesn’t help my mood much, and I’m forced to take drastic measures.
Misery does indeed love company, which is why I decide to call my sister in Jerusalem. I dare her to be spontaneous and join me for a 1:00 am movie at my local theater. “Cocktails”, I promise, “are on me.”
My sister (#6), never one to pass up a “reasonable” dare (once I double- dared her to lick a street kitten for a free movie and popcorn. That cost me 50 shekel, but it was totally worth it!), picks me up 45 minutes later and we speed along the Freeway towards “Cinema City”.
“I’d offer you a sip, but it’s irresponsible for you to drink and drive,” I tell my sister, helping myself to a shlug of the home-made cocktail-in-a-thermos I brought with me.
“This is irresponsible,” my sister replies. “We have work and school tomorrow, and here we are in the middle of the night going to watch a movie.”
“Absolutely. We should be ashamed of ourselves!” I agree, taking another swig. “But I’ve had a rough week and could use something to cheer me up.”
“Believe me sister,” she teases, “whatever’s eating you, I can top it.”
This is our favorite game. When we’re both feeling a little down, we like to throw a little pity party, and see who wins the worst scenario award.
“Oh really?” I challenge. “Name 5 reasons why you think your week has been worse than mine.”
#6 doesn’t even need a moment to think.
“I failed that big test that will change the course of my life, forever. I found out my best friend’s dating my ex. I’ve been everything in a mucky shade of pink the last three weeks which means I probably have the swine flu, I lost my favorite purse with my lucky two dollar bill and I broke up with my boyfriend (see above).. You think you can top that?”
I crack my knuckles and wait for the tension to build.
“That’s barely a typical work-week for me!” I assure her. “Where to begin? I’ve got so many choices. I didn’t get that role I auditioned for, my best friend mysteriously changed her number, the kid I babysit actually has the swine flu and threw-up all over me today, I’m not making enough money to buy a purse—you’re treating tonight—and the closest thing I have to a boyfriend right now is this weird stalker who waits outside my house every evening. “
#6 smiles. “I love being miserable together! So what comedy are we going to see?”
“Comedy? No way. Then we walk out saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if our lives were like that?’ and getting back to reality takes forever.”
“Okay, what about My Sisters’ Keeper?”
“Are you insane? You want to watch a movie about a dying sister? THAT would make you feel better?”
“It depends which sister….” She winks at me.
“How about Law Abiding Citizen? It’s about this woman who gets murdered, so then her husband murders the murderer and when they try to stop—”
“Tiferet, in the mood we’re in, I don’t think we should encourage murder.”
“Well, we have to think of a movie that’s totally fictional. That will help us disconnect, have a good time, and still come back down to earth.”
By the time we get to the movie theater # 6 has a brainstorm. “What movie better to help disconnect from reality than something with a big tsunami smeared all over the poster?!”
I think of telling her about this morning’s headlines. I think of reminding her that science fiction writers often predict the future. But the only thing I say is: “Two tickets to 2012,“ as the bored ticket seller take #6’s money.
Loaded with plenty of popcorn and coke, we seat ourselves in the theater. There is a strange moment when all the lights shut off and we simply wait in the dark.
I hope my stalker hasn’t followed us, I silently pray.
When the lights turn on again I see that #6 has just finished attaching a pyramid of straws from my drink so I “won’t have to bend down to drink”.
“Here, drink!” she orders. I’m sucking as hard as I can, trying to get the liquid to come through. The high pitched hissing sound attracts everyone’s attention – and everyone has something spontaneous to say.
“Isn’t that fun? You don’t have to bend down at all!” my sister says, pleased with herself, and oblivious to everyone’s icy glares. She, of course, is drinking from only one straw.
When the movie finally begins, I am riveted. The larger than life action, the explosions and catastrophic natural events that take place have my full attention, and certainly help me get my mind off things. There’s nothing like an “apocalyptic end-of-the-world” movie to disconnect you from reality.
In the movie, leaders of different countries hold a conference, and are brought up-to-date on the magnitude of the disaster about to strike. Together, they plan for the future.
That’s when clippings from the daily news reports flash through my mind, and a strange chill rushes over me.
“The largest and most important U.N. climate change conference in history opened Monday, with organizers warning diplomats from 192 nations that this could be the best, last chance for a deal to protect the world from calamitous global warming.” (www.chron.com, article by Arthur Max.)
I grip the sides of my seat, as the suspense rises while nations from different countries attempt to “buy” their way to safety from the apocalyptic predicaments.
“The poorest nations in the world – such as Pacific Island states, low-lying Asian countries and African nations – say they are the least responsible for the legacy of greenhouse gas emissions but will be the hardest hit. Rising sea-levels, temperature increases, and more droughts and floods are among their concerns. (www.news.com, article by Graham Readfearn.)
We’re at the point in the film where delegates from each country need to express their moral opinion, and a vote is being taken to reach a final decision.
“You know they’re gonna’ make Israel immoral or something” my sister predicts.
Ironically my sister is wrong. Because Israel is excluded from the vote altogether.
“Two months ago, this reporter asked the Israel Prime Minister’s headquarters if Netanyahu would be joining the Copenhagen summit. The answer was:
“At the moment, there is no such plan in the Prime Ministers schedule.”
“Yesterday, Netanyahu’s headquarters already announced that the Prime minister was considering canceling his flight due to costly hotel expenses.”
(Ma’ariv newspaper, article by Aviv Lavi.)
In fact, throughout the movie many countries and religions are given their “15 minutes of fame”, including a whole scene dominated by the head of an Arab nation. Yet, aside from a two second image of Chareidi Jews praying, Israel is not even mentioned. But I wonder if that is just the usual “Israel exclusion”, or whether our prime-minister simply decided there were no cheap hotels in the area.
There’s a strange feeling of finality when you see a movie in which the world is about to be wiped out, civilization obliterated, and no apparent solution on the horizon. Watching the tidal waves drown everyone, seeing people falling between the cracks in an earthquake, you realize how hopeless life could be.
Finding a way out of my own real-life predicaments no longer seems like the “end of the world” anymore.
Of course, #6 had a different take on this.
“John Cusack is soooo cute!!! But why did all those people have to die? And why was that other guy so mean?” She’s rubbing her red, swollen fingertips where her nails used to be.
“You know,” I tell her as we walk back to the car. “When people feel threatened, or in danger, they sometimes make wrong decisions or behave in a way that really seems immoral. But I think the big question we’re supposed to ask is, when it comes down to it, do you first save yourself? Or do you try to save others? I mean, how much are people willing to sacrifice in order to save the world? ”
“The parade of planes is led by the Progressive-in-Chief, Barack Obama…. Then there’s the fleet of other government jets….
“But the most fun is always had by the great and good, the most highly esteemed and wisest members of our society: the Hollywood movie stars!.... First there’s Oprah and her Gulfstream IV (it holds 13 people!). And Al Gore. And Paris Hilton. And Bob Geldorf. And Jennifer Aniston. There are hundreds more… there is something a bit bizarre in these people having permission to preach to others what they don’t do themselves.” (www.humanevents.com, article by Terry Easton)
On que, the skies open and a downpour soaks us. We give each other knowing glances –
“It’s the end of the world!” my sister shouts above the thunder, as we both run for cover. “You know,” she adds as soon as we reach our car, “I’d save you first.”
“You always do,” I smile, as she holds open the car door for me to get in.
“Well, I have to say that all that end of the world stuff really made me feel better. I think I’m ready to start a new day,” #6 says excitedly.
“It already IS a new day, it’s 5am!” I yawn.
“Hey, we never decided who won the contest of worst scenario?”
“How about we call it a tie,” I say, as the memory of this morning’s headline—SAVE THE PLANET—collides with the Tsunami image from the movie we just exited. “I get the feeling it could always be worse….”
“So, what should we do next?” #6 turns to me excitedly, obviously getting her second wind. “How about Jog in the rain? Go for a dip at the beach? Or we can even catch a 6:00 AM showing of – “
“How about, we get some sleep!” I reply.
#6 starts the engine and smiles mischievously. “You know – you’re a lot more fun when you’re miserable!”
When you have one of these miserable days, my advice is to call someone you’re close to (like my sister, although I’m not sure she’ll answer YOU), do something crazy (like see a movie in the middle of the night), and take your mind off life.
“CoP-15, the official term for the Copenhagen meeting, The 15th Conference of Parties, to negotiate a new global climate treaty to replace or extend the 1997 Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.” (www.livemint.com, article by Samar Halarnkar)
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