Social decay at home and abroad
Alas, when I arrived at the airport, I was reminded I was flying to the United States. United Airlines charged me $28.75 for my one checked bag. At 7:20 on a Monday morning, the dense, snaking lines for security and U.S. Customs were more typical of a holiday weekend "Due to the current budget situation limiting the number of border agents at the airport," as several signs informed me.
The one-two-three punch of private-sector cupidity, governmental paralysis, and bad grammar (the adjectival due to misused for the adverbial because of) should have prepared me for the overzealous inspection agent who had me hauled aside for an interview that left me worried I'd miss my plane. But I got to the gate in plenty of time to find out that the United Airlines fight would be delayed by mechanical problems long enough to make me miss my connecting flight. As of this writing, I hope the American social fabric holds together long enough to get both me and my luggage to Philadelphia by this evening.
Speaking of social fabric, two Irish crime novels I'm reading show sharp awareness of Ireland's financial troubles. Alan Glynn's Graveland has a pair of bankers being murdered and, though the novel is set in New York, I suspect strongly that Glynn, a Dubliner, had his own country's problems and the impunity of those responsible for them very much in mind.
Gene Kerrigan's The Rage, winner of the 2012 CWA Gold Dagger for best novel, meanwhile, includes bits such as these:
"Trade unions are out of fashion now, but everything we ever got we had to fight for it —money, hours, conditions. Today, it's like everyone's grateful to be a unit of labour."and
"My father was a die operator in a plastic extrusion factory — small place, non-union. Only time you got to open your mouth was to say `yes, sir.' What he said to me — you get there habit of bowing and scraping, it becomes part of your nature. Don't get the habit, he said."Now, off for some coffee so I don't sleep through announcements of the next delays or cancellation.
© Peter Rozovsky 2013