sing this corrosion to me – part one…
A friend who came in from San Angeles once remarked on just how bad the acid-rain corrosion gets here and wondered how people can stand to deal with it on a day-in-day-out basis. It’s the kind of noob question you treat with RA1N C1TY-branded cool/condecension if it comes from a stranger, but it’s different when a friend asks.
The answer’s actually as obvious as it is simple – we accept it because it is and we’ve got no other choice. Living here means two things are veryreal for you:
1) It rains – about 70 percent of the time.
2) About 50 percent of the time the rain corrodes your clothes, anything you carry with you, and sometimes even your hair/skin – unless you take steps to protect all of the above.
How you do that depends a lot on what you can afford. Like anything else with a negative environmental impact, somebody somewhere tries to cash in on the fallout, and rain-coping’s evolved into a growth-industry as big as urban paranoia.
It’s sad really. You can’t help but think that if this much attention and resources had been devoted up-front to dealing with how fucked-up the environment was getting back in the day, we wouldn’t be forced to spend so much of our our national and personal GDPs rightnow just so our day-to-day approximates something liveable. Okay – rant over. The real’s the real and you have to deal – so let’s get back to how people do that.
Like so many other things in RA1N C1TY the answer’s all about whether you’re Zero or Ichi. If you’re Zero you scrounge whatever you can by whatever means necessary and cover yourself. Sometimes “whatever means necessary” implies more than just dumpster-diving. If you can max your pity-factor enough, there’s always the chance some Ichi will give in to their guilt-reflex and toss you some part of their wardrobe.
That doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to. There are so many Zero practically everywhere that it’s hard not to tune them out as visual white noise. Then there are those of us who tune them out by practiced desensitization – or even by design. The guilt-reflex has been chemo-ID’d now, and like anything with a sales potential for big-pharma, a syndrome’s been diagnosed for it. The tag-acronym’s “CERS” (Compulsive Empathic Reaction Syndrome) and if you can find a doctor who’ll diagnose and prescribe, you can pop a pill once a day and your guilt’s cleanly – non-invasively – gone.
The implications of having your guilt-capacity chemo-assassinated are so bigscale they require a separate post – at least. For now, let’s dialogue more on what can happen if some Ichi popping the guilt-fix goes into the SUCK with some verystyle rain gear.
The least that goes down is somebody remote-scans the design, copies it, and tries to sell you a black-market knock-off like the coat I was stupid enough to buy last December.
Then there are the green-muggings. People get targeted for their rain-gear here. It happens a lot – and if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, with your guilt in coma – it can happen to you. If it happens above-ground the cops will retaliate. Mugging is bad for tourism and if the Zero perp can be ID’d and caught, they can count on a beatdown, with a second course of arrest followed by a full course of neuro-intimidator therapy.
If you get green-mugged below-ground – you’re on your own.
The Ichi have more options when it comes to rain gear – and most of them don’t involve embarrassing yourself or criminal activity. If you can take the financial hit, there’s a whole menu of designer-poylmer fabrics, sonic umbrellas, and rain-block cosmetics, but more about them next post. Until then, more about Kiku – and the therapy she had.