I’m in Pasadena. I have “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” in my head. (If you don’t know what this song is, you should.) The title character was evidently the terror of Colorado Boulevard, which is where I am right now.

I’ve got a small plastic cup of Fat Tire at my elbow and I’m listening to the History Channel. Yes, I’m listening to television. I decided to see what was on. I’m not impressed. I allowed myself one spin through the available channels and found:

Bloody hands.
A tribute interview with Quincy Jones noting the death of Michael Jackson.
A television show in which two interior decorators critique a homeowner’s taste (I think that’s what they were doing. It wasn’t very nice).

And the program I am listening to, which seems to be a series of episodes about life on Earth if humans suddenly disappeared. So it talks about day one after humans, day five, five years, twenty, one hundred, etc. etc. Despite the despairing narrator (imagine the narrator of the movie trailers who says, “In a world…” and you know his voice) who talks about how everything will decay, rust, fall apart, become covered with water, or in the case of the mausoleums of New Orleans, human remains will turn to oil. I find it very cheerful, because I often worry about our crappy impression on the planet, like a large polyester leisure suit, making her sweat and wrinkle and all kinds of crud accumulate in unfortunate places.

But I’ve noticed that I have no tolerance for the lack of depth to the program. Every time I ask a question (I’m alone, I can talk to the screen, right?) something else becomes The Most Important Thing to Fall Apart and I’m just left with questions which fade because! Because! There is a breathlessness and speed to the pace of images that leave my eyes tired and my brain spinny. And then there are commercials. Ew. Even with the sound off, they are less than palatable.

So. Evidently Malaysia does not have an indigenous steel industry. But in 500 years, buildings with steel infrastructure will start to corrode and fall down, laden with green moss and vines. This is if people suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, so there was no one to maintain buildings.

Is this supposed to depress me?

Oh, and in 2000 years, the Mona Lisa will have been eaten by death-watch beetles. Just so you know.