Reg and Syd: Car Facts

Syd: “A … um … remarkable Hawaiian sunset, Reg.”

Reg: “A rain shower with the backdrop of the last light of day, Syd. Something a bit out of the ordinary for the desert side of Hawai‘i Island, and worth making the trip to see. You can find the orange-ball-dropping-into-the-ocean thing on any one of a thousand postcards.”

Syd: “Um … postcards?

Reg: “OK, Instagram posts. Don’t be unworthy. How many of those scientists you insist on hiring remember when an Instagram was a cheap camera?”

Syd: Instamatic. Not Instagram. Even these young whizbangs who are turning up at the superyacht club these days know how to use a trademark lawyer.”

Reg: “Too bad they don’t know how to make any real money. I suppose they’ll do all right for themselves in the end, but for business, I’m not so sure. And I’d still rather not be in their shoes right now.”

Syd: “Hm. Is this how come you called me to come out here to watch weird sunsets? I could have stayed in Seattle to watch the rain.”

Reg: “I did think you’d like a break from the annual opening of the Seattle Rain Festival. And … I wished to celebrate something, just quietly, you and me.”

Syd: “Indeed? Then I’m happy to join the celebration. What about? Did you and Mandy …?”

Reg: “Mandy moved on months ago. In what state, she’s never said. Jillian arrives on board the AlphaOmega in three or four days. And entertaining as she is, she’d never understand.”

Syd: “I hope I’ll do better.”

Reg: “I expect you will. After all, you were there.”

Syd: “Say on.”

Reg: “Hard for me to believe that it was more than five years ago now. You were making daisy chains with your necktie over the climate change furore and how this was going to wreck business, and I said not to worry, none of this was ever going to happen. Well, I said it a year ago, and I’m going to say it again: Was I right, or was I right?”

Syd: “Well, our Donald has certainly done his bit. You have something new?”

Reg: “Indeed. You might recall how your sciency types, and the rest of the Instagram crowd, were screaming that the automobile was a thing of the past for them? 35% of total fossil carbon emissions yadayada…?”

Syd: “I do …”

Reg: “Well, guess who’s been buying up cars all this time?”

Syd: “For the last decade? And in the cities??”

Reg: “For the last decade. And in the cities. The smart money’s saying that all the pious words were just a smokescreen for the fact that these mill-whatchacallits weren’t earning enough to buy cars, thanks to the recession in 2008. And the minute they did … It burns me a little to think that we have had to compromise our business principles and expand payrolls to allow this buying spree to happen, but the revelation that has resulted is justification, and entertainment, enough. You do see what this means, do you not?”

Syd: “Elementary, my dear Reginald. It means that the millennials, who have had so many nasty things to say about the Baby Boomer generation, are behaving in exactly the same way as we did, the minute they got the chance.”

Reg: “And the climate change business?”

Syd: “‘Is for someone else to worry about. I have to get my kids to soccer! I’ll be counting on these new Wunderwaffen … er, technological advances, to beat climate change at industrial scales.’ Which, of course, rich white Westerners can afford, and every black body else can suck hind tit, and be liberally dumped on for presuming to attempt a Western standard of living – by burning what they have, namely coal – into the bargain. How’s your racist elitism smell, Gen Xers?”

Reg: “About the same as the Baby Boomers. Easy on the customer base, Syd.”

Syd: “You mean like those snooty-nosed holier-than-thou types back home in the Northwest, who scream about climate change and similar lefty issues while paying no state income tax, supporting professional sports teams but not homeless accommodation, and relying for support of their hypocrisy almost entirely on our Jeff B., who is perhaps the embodiment of neoliberalism and, to practically universal acclaim, is one of the biggest guzzlers of fossil carbon outside of the Chinese coal-fired power plant network?”

Reg: “Along with being one of the biggest, and most careless, pushers of sweatshop-produced goods. Guess they still must have a few bugs in their AI.”

Syd: “‘Profit until caught?’ Maybe not. Especially if they’ve worked out that the return on investment for doing stuff like this is greater than any penalty that they’re likely to have imposed on them. They sure as hell have the Seattle City Council in their pocket.”

Reg: “Good point. Though I hear that the Council is rattling its sabers.”

Syd: “We’ll see how much good it does them. I’m thinking, none. Speaking of no good, what about all these hopeful ride-sharing monsters like Uber and Lyft that the supposedly car-less young people were so keen on? These outfits went ahead and destroyed taxi services only to be found out, and teeter on the brink of collapse themselves. Where does that leave us?”

Reg: “You have any trouble obtaining limo services lately?”

Syd: “Of course not.”

Reg: “Well, then, it’s for the upstarts who founded them to worry about, learn from, and do business properly henceforth, if they survive. And as for the rest … it wasn’t all that long ago that Seattle folks learned what happens when you bite the hand that’s feeding you. It looks like the lesson needs repeating. Meanwhile …”

Syd: “I brought some choice bottles with me from my cellar at home. As you asked, knowing that Hawai‘i Island is a bit short on quality wines.”

Reg: “That’s my boy.”

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