Thursday, December 25, 2008

I wonder.

Alas, a true lover of mankind, I am not. But as I fly through LaGuardia and then Atlanta/Hartsfield I wonder if Mother Teresa, St. Francis Assisi or, even, Mr. Rogers could make it through a day in "Economy" without rage.

Let's start with the "Breezeway," the name Delta's chosen for its unmoving line onto their aging jets. My row had no window--evidence that they jammed more seats in the vessel than originally intended and I could not cross my legs. My knees were flush against the seat in front of me.

On the PA system, they piped in the sounds of crying babies--if only to muffle the sounds of crying babies. The pilot took delight in calling terminal T terminal "tango." Do you tango? I don't and would have preferred T as in Terpsichore.

Now I sit in a processed food court that is lit brighter than the surface of the sun, the smell of refried grease permeating the refried people. The Cashew chicken is back at Panda Express. I hadn't known it ever left. My daughter says, "We could sit at Friday's but then we'd be sitting at Friday's."

Is this America today, I wonder, where everything feels processed, synthetic, cheap,run down, of low-quality. The staggering thing, I think is that amid all our choices, there are really no choices. What rotten airline do you want to fly, what lousy airport do you want to connect through, what lousy food do you want to eat, what mediocre candidates (or at least candidates who pander to the lowest common denominator) will you vote for?

Sallow black men in prison-style pants down around their knees sweep lazily pushing big grey petrochemical buckets and jawing with one another. Everyone, everyone seems to have latex gloves on, why? Is there still phantom anthrax in the air or is it AIDS or is it petrochemical companies adding yet another billion to their coffers?


Anonymous said...

Just before Katrina hit, we went to New Orleans--the first time I'd been to the states in years. And I couldn't wait to go home. The same greasy restaurants, the same tourist shops, the overpriced "jazz" clubs, the fake originality... all of it was a big, farcical show. It could have been anywhere else in the US, just with different backdrops and accents. It feels like that everywhere we go in the states.

It's starting to feel like that up here in parts of Canada, too.

Anonymous said...

As a eurotrasher living in the land of plastic I also must endure the "temporary suspension of disbelief" I so frequently engage in when crossing this landscape that prides itself on the "freedom" it fought and perpetrates to fight for. This is more about a freedom to run amok and indulge in every whim at any time anywhere. We point to the freedom that makes people fat and sick blaming them for their inability to control themselves. Whereas we should direct our energies of contempt against the greedy mongers who build airports with nothing healthy in sight - ATL being the worst offender. City planners (what an oxymoron that title is in this country) who create turds of aesthetically reprehensible quality with accountability to nothing but faster, cheaper, and, as appears to be the mots du jour, the highest bidder.

There appears to be no loyalty to anything in this country except "the freedom to do whatever the fuck I damn well please." So enjoy the plastic burger from plastic cows fed other plastic cows just to ensure we all succumb to mad plastic disease. The problem is that if you are not an AMERI-tarian with a steady diet of denial, tastless-ness, and lack of culture and education, you end up noticing all the shallowness...and the inevitable sadness of an unbridled society left to its every desire without guardrails.

In the meantime, good luck until you can get out.