One of the endearing things about Dave is that he gets his panties in a wad over things like social injustices and other related phenomenon that go bump in the night. I suppose I should too, but between not upsetting the status quo, ignoring those things I have no power over, and a general disinterest in tilting at windmills, there are enough excuses for me to not sweat the little things. Like pay inequality for women. I suppose that’s wrong, that women should be paid the same as men. But all the women I know are dykes, and as most right-thinking lesbians in America do, they all joined the military at an early age and then transferred the skills they learned into governmental jobs. And a G14 makes what a G14 gets paid regardless if it comes with a penis or not.
Not quite as endearing is Dave’s decision to learn all that he can about the area he now calls home. I’ve lived here far longer than planned and still haven’t bothered to learn the names of the major streets. I know which exit leads to the shopping mall; what that road’s name is I haven’t a clue. That’s not entirely my fault. Street names change around here with no rhyme or reason. You’ll be driving down one street and a stop light or two later it has another name. And then if you can be bothered to drive another mile or two, it changes its name again. That’s just those streets running eat to west (and vice versa). The north/south roads hold their names for miles and miles and miles. Even though they tend to dead end at some farmer’s field. No problemo. Another mile or so beyond that the street starts up again. With the same name. It even confuses the GPS in my car. I figure if they can’t use a bit of logical reasoning in naming streets, there’s no good reason for me to bother learning what those names are.
But I do know a few things about the area. The KKK got its start on the West Coast just two small towns over. And the original forefather of where I live gave early settlers free land as long as they promised to never drink alcohol. The party folk among settlers headed for the costal waters another day’s trek west. Which may explain why there is a large Mennonite community in the area. You can spot the women folk out shopping often enough . But you don’t see the men of the clan much. Which is a shame. I kinda would like to do a Mennonite dude. Just for the bragging rights.
What doesn’t take much research is to know the area is primarily an agricultural one. There are dairy farms just a five minute drive from my house down some road whose name I’m clueless of. And when I bought the place it was one of a dozen homes in a small development surrounded by almond orchards. Now it’s surrounded by Mc Mansions, a testament to California’s housing boom before the real estate bubble popped. For a while, back before George W. broke the world, there were large billboards advertising orchard removal services. Which I always thought surely put a major stain on someone’s karma. But then karma working as it does (although this time much quicker) lots of those barren tracts are now sporting almond orchards again. And the orchard removal service companies are all out of business and their owners and employees now help make up the area’s homeless population. That’s thanks to the price of almonds having tripled over the last decade. While housing prices have done the same in the opposite direction.
Which brings me back to Dave and his endearing quality of getting his panties in a wad over injustices and his not quite as endearing propensity to learn more about the area he now calls home. We live in the almond capital of the world. If you’ve eaten an almond in the last year, it probably came from a tree whose trunk I’ve peed on. Almonds are California’s third-leading agricultural product, its top agricultural export, and it produces 100% of the U.S. commercial supply of a nut that – as nuts go – is pretty worthless. Almonds are the filler they put in a can of mixed nuts, the ones you throw out while you’re digging for the cashews. As a crop, however, almonds weighed in at over $6.2 billion in 2014. And our almond groves supply 80 percent of the global harvest; most of which are exported to China. ‘Cuz those commies are crazy for American nuts.
The cool thing (in my admittedly warped sense of the cool) is that that entire industry’s annual success hinges on a two week period in February when it’s almond blossom pollination time. That’s a pretty short window for the birds and the bees to do what the birds and the bees do best, about the same as many sex tourists get to do their own brand of pollinating during their annual visit to Thailand. The difference is that if it rains that whole two weeks in Thailand, you still get laid. If it rains during the entire almond blossom pollination window, you’re shit outta luck. With almond growing, it’s a case of no honey, no money.
But that hasn’t been a problem for California for several years now ‘cuz we are in the middle of a major drought. Or, The Drought as the media likes to call it. So instead the hills come alive with the sound of bees buzzing every February. The pollination of California’s almond crops is the largest annual managed-pollination event in the world, with close to one million hives (nearly half of all beehives in the USA) being trucked in each February to our almond groves. And inevitably, a few of those semis get into an accident every year, spilling their load of bees onto the highways and back roads and causing one hell of a painful traffic snarl for those foolish enough to follow too closely behind a truck transporting bees. One has to assume a few of those folk used to work for an orchard removal service.
Not that those bees get off lightly either. At least not the males of the species. ‘Cuz when it comes to pollinating the hive instead of almond trees, things get a bit dicey. Not unlike queens you probably know, when it comes to bees the queen thinks the only purpose male bees serve is to service her. Sexually. In fact, any who fail to do so get driven from the hive come autumn. How does the queen know which guys haven’t been doing their duty? They’re the ones who are still alive.
Bee mating is one of the most dramatic examples of sexual suicide in the insect world. Take the flying farang sexpat population of Pattaya out of the picture and bees rank #1 is reaching their final destination at the same time as their climax. And even that ain’t easy. Much like some of the raunchier gogo bar shows in Bangkok (sans the trapeze) copulating bees do so while flying through the air. And like a sex tourist who hasn’t got laid in five years, when a male bee finally manages to get his penis where he’s dreamed of, he gets so excited he ejaculates with such explosive force that the tip of his penis ruptures. Ouch!
On the plus side, just after getting his buzz on the male bee dies. That’s a plus ‘cuz bee or not when all ya got left hanging between your legs is a ruptured penis, death is a welcomed event. Which may explain those flying farang too. In any case, the next time some fish starts whining at you about pay inequality, tell her about the life of the male bee.
But the injustice over the bee slavery sex trade – where they are forced to pollinate trees far from their home hives for slave wages – is not what upsets Dave. Interestingly, the fate of flying farang doesn’t seem to bother him much either. What has been driving him nuts is that while residents across the state are being told to take shorter showers, stop watering their lawns, and stop washing their cars – because of The Drought – the acreage devoted to California’s almond orchards have doubled in the past decade. And it takes just over one gallon of water to grow a single almond. The amount of water the state uses annually to produce just the almonds it exports would provide enough water for all Southern California homes and businesses for almost three years. Kinda nuts, huh?
But it gets better.
Thanks to The Drought, there’s not enough water flowing through the state’s rivers to irrigate all the almond orchards that have cropped up. The result is that farmers have been scrambling to drop wells to prop up their thirsty orchards during our historic drought. Which ain’t cheap to do. So large financial firms have been snapping up farmland, switching from row crops to almonds, and dropping in wells to position themselves to cash in on Asia’s rising, almond-munching middle class. And as one financial firm whose crop is cash drops a well to suck out all the water it can, the next farm over has to drop a well even deeper to get the water it needs to keep its shareholders happy. Thanks to that corporate greed, the ground in the almond capital of the world has been sinking by an average of 11 inches per year. Which really pisses Dave off. Even if he is confused over what constitutes 11 inches based on some of my claims.
Wait until I tell him about how that causes earthquakes. Having not grown up where the earth routinely shakes, rattles, and rolls as I did, the idea of an earthquake scares the shit out of him. I think I’ll tell him, just in case, we need to stock our earthquake preparedness kit with cans of almonds. They last forever, they’re full of vitamins and protein, and no one is ever gonna argue about who gets the last one in the can. ‘Cuz it’s an almond.
Thanks to Dave, I (and you) now know more about almonds than I (and you) ever wanted to. The exploding bee penis thingy was kinda cool to hear about, however. Although as trivia goes, I doubt that will ever come up on Jeopardy. Hopefully, with almond blossoms falling quicker than Oprah going down on the last piece of chocolate cake, and the trees soon to be festooned with nothing but leaf, Dave’s preoccupation with the state of our state’s almond industry will diminish and he’ll get back to devoting his interests to the nuts that are supposed to be occupying his time and attention.
|Related Posts You Might Enjoy:|