California is a tinderbox. We're edging toward nuclear conflict. A nightmarish hurricane season left Puerto Rico in ruins. I now react to push alerts if my device had suddenly transformed into a lit firecracker.
How do you keep track of the passage of time when we seem to be accelerating toward political and social collapse? Perhaps a good, old-fashioned method ripped straight from the pages of the Farmers' Almanac?
The National Weather Service tweeted Tueday night that Phoenix 103-day drought had ended, the 20th longest of all time. The last date on which rain was felt in the city was August 23.
If you asked me when a recent event occurred — President Donald Trump's Phoenix rally, for instance — I might tell you four months, four years, or four decades ago. It probably would depend on how warped my brain felt from refreshing Twitter all day.
The dry streak is officially over in Phoenix! With measurable rainfall reported at Sky Harbor Airport this evening, the streak ends at 103 days, making it the 20th longest dry streak of all-time. #azwx— NWS Phoenix (@NWSPhoenix) December 6, 2017
In reality, the Trump rally was on August 22. The next day was the last day of rain.
Let's attempt to put the dry spell into perspective, time warp and all.
On August 23, some people took stock of the little things in life. Specifically, people who viewed the solar eclipse the day before sans proper eyewear worried that they might have inadvertently damaged their eyesight.
Two days later, Trump issued a pardon for Joe Arpaio, ignoring the sins of the former sheriff in favor of bailing him out from a finding of criminal contempt of court. During his Phoenix rally the same week, Trump hinted that he'd come through for his pal.
(Arpaio, however, still has his guilty verdict on the record. On October 19, Judge Susan Bolton ruled that "a pardon ‘carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it.’”)
In September, Trump tweeted the following:
So, there's that.
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
On October 2, the U.S. woke up to the horror of the worst mass shooting in the country's recent history. Prominent Arizonans reacted to the tragedy. Only a few called for legislative action on guns in an effort to prevent another massacre.
Senator John McCain, who is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer after his diagnosis last summer, decried Trump's "half-baked, spurious nationalism."
While McCain also managed to grab the limelight during a July attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, so far he's a yes on the tax reform bill Republicans are salivating over — which, as of right now, could contain a repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate.
Also during October: Senator Jeff Flake, another hero of the anti-Trump Republicans, announced he would not seek re-election in a speech that criticized Trumpian discourse and "fearful, backward-looking" politics, without ever mentioning the president by name.
In the much-praised Senate address, Flake said that he wants to better serve country and conscience "by freeing myself from the political considerations that consume far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles."
Of course, Flake is also freeing himself from political power, that pesky thing which could have allowed him to oppose Trump's agenda — if he ever wanted to. Flake voted in line with Trump 90 percent of the time.
In November, the #MeToo movement and a series of stories about prominent men accused of sexual harassment and assault caused a few high-profile alleged sexual predators to flee to Arizona. Disgraced Hollywood heavyweights Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey both reportedly did stints in rehab in Wickenburg.
The flood of stories reached the Arizona State Capitol, too. Nine women have come forward with stories of repeated sexual harassment by State Representative Don Shooter of Yuma. Others said Shooter's behavior is hardly an isolated case at the capitol.
Just a few days ago, the National Weather Service announced that last month broke a record for hottest November since the time they started keeping track in 1895, a time when Arizona wasn't even a state and Grover Cleveland was president.
Along with our ever-increasing temperatures, I have a feeling that the time acceleration is only to get worse.
And whenever the next rainfall occurs, maybe it can wash away the memory of the past 103 days, too.