I had an unfortunate incident with my lambs tails recently. I was New York city and I got a late night call from Australia to say that there was a bad smell coming from my office (where I was keeping two freezers full of 400 lambs tails). To cut a long story short it turns out that some cleaners had been in over the Christmas break and unplugged the freezers, leaving them to sit in a week of 40 degree heat before anyone returned to work. The lambs tails liquified and by the time I managed to organise someone to sort it out in my absence, they were creating a mighty stink. So much so that my friends on the scene decided to call in a disposal expert, costing me 500 big ones.
Yes you may laugh!
Although all have since been able to appreciate the absurd humour of the situation – especially given my current focus on waste and contamination – it was rather stressful at the time.
My friend Phil Ross, who is a great one for dropping little hooks to a new line of thought, pointed out that ‘preservation only goes so far without the grid’. Amidst the chaos of returning home, this one took a while to sink in. But now I’m thinking… Nothing stands still. Times arrow is always advancing – entropy, dissolution, decay. When you freeze something, lower the temperature, apparently suspending it in time, what you are really doing is replacing one dissolution for another. In this case, the break down of fossil fuels was allowing me to delay the decomposition of dead flesh. Once my connection to the grid was cut, I lost my power, both literally and figuratively – time was no longer in my grasp. What strikes me about this experience, is just how much we take for granted our ability to use energy to expand and contract time – to fly through half a year and file 400 lambs tails for six months like paper in an office.