It seems that at least once a year, Houston is struck by a freak weather incident that completely disrupts its power grid. Last couple of years we got “winter freezes” that lasted between 1-3 days each, and just a few days ago it was a tornado and accompanying storm, which only really lasted an hour at most. Was out with my kid when it happened (only received an alert on my phone just when winds were starting to pick up) and managed to shelter at a restaurant. Damage around my neck of the woods hasn't been too bad, but my street has been without power for several days now, which has turned my home into a far from habitable hellbox. Flashes from the opening heatwave scene in Kim Stanley Robinson's MINISTRY OF THE FUTURE strobed in my mind's eye in my first night of overheated delirium, house walls practically incandescent despite all the doors and windows I had wide open throughout the night (windows that were sealed shut until I had the landlord practically break them open upon signing the lease), which invited swarms of mosquitos I attempted to battle off my child's perspiring flesh. Power is still absent, and I have since sought refuge elsewhere.

It really wouldn't be all that bad if temperatures within the house matched temperatures outside. The problem arises from it rising to 10+ degrees hotter in the summer, 10 degrees cooler in winter. A basic failure of architecture, of habitat-construction. We'd be much better off living in caves at this point. But this is the nature of the vast majority real estate development in capitalist America: boxes built out of chip-wood, marketed as luxury dwellings because of all the amenities: central air, washer/dryer, open kitchen, microwave/dishwasher, and all the things that mean fuck all when the power is down.

It's hard not to foresee what the “end of civilization” will look like with each one of these freak weather events. And this one wasn't even that bad, a mere one-hour storm. How will the system withstand a storm that lasts multiple days on end? Throw in a new global pandemic that strains the healthcare system, an overstretched military apparatus, along with political upheaval, and you have a darn good recipe for complete collapse.