"It has long seemed to me unfortunate - and I'm taking global view here - that such an important experiment in social organization was left to the Russians when the British clearly would have managed it so much better. All those things that are necessary to the successful implementation of a rigorous socialist system are, after all, second nature to the British. For a start, they like going without. They are good at pulling together, particularly in the face of adversity, for a perceived common good. They will queue patiently for indefinite periods and accept with rare fortitude the imposition of rationing, bland diets, and sudden inconvenient shortages of staple goods, as anyone who ever looked for bread at a supermarket on a Saturday afternoon will know. They are comfortable with faceless bureaucracies and, as Mrs. Thatcher proved, tolerant of dictatorships. They will wait uncomplainingly for years for an operation or the delivery of household appliance. They have a natural gift for making excellent, muttered jokes about authority without ever actually challenging it, and they derive universal satisfaction from the sight of the rich and powerful brought low. Most of those above the age of twenty-five already dress like East Germans. The conditions, in a word, are right."
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
So while I love traveling I really actually dislike the getting there part. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Manhandling luggage. I know it's my own fault for not being a very light packer, but I can't help it, I'm still learning. I hate dragging luggage around: into the car, out of the car, up to the check in desk, onto the scale, oops! too heavy, back off the scale, take stuff out, onto the scale again. Then the carry on is too heavy because of all the stuff you've crammed in at check in. (I swear I weighed my bags three times and they were right on target. I think they rig those wretched scales.) So now the carry on is heavy and you've gotta wheel it around the airport with your purse/laptop case either bruising your shoulder or breaking your wrists as it rides on top of the wheeled bag. (When you finally arrive at your destination to discover that your bags made a side trip to NY you're actually rather relived because it means they will be hand delivered to you instead of you having to drag them around the airport, on and off a bus, and then into and out of a car.)
2) Accidents. When you've finally gotten settled with your luggage and you decide you deserve your favorite drink at Starbucks (a Venti Sweetened Passion Tea Lemonade) which you won't be able to have for the foreseeable future because they don't make it in the UK what do you go and do, after only having drank about 1/4 of it, but spill it all over the carpet by the internet station. Oh well, at least it didn't land on any one's bag.
4) Trying to sleep on the airplane. Number one the seat is hardly ever comfortable. Number two there is always too much activity to get more than a couple hours anyway. Number three, the elderly gentleman sitting next to you, while lovely, is quite fidgety, keeps dropping his pillow, and doesn't seem to mind getting into your personal space. So you just decide to watch movies instead and give yourself permission to sleep as much as you want when you get home.
5) (This comes under the love part... I think) When you go through passport control in Dublin the passport control officer, if a man, will most likely assume that the reason you've been to Ireland so many times is because you have a boyfriend here.
6) Trying to pay with a credit card. For some reason while I've been gone lots of place have stopped accepting payment by card. This is fine except when the only noticeable cash point at the airport is out of order...
7) International telephones... My US phone, while stocked up with plenty of leftover credit, refuses to work here which leaves me unable to contact my housemates letting them know what time I need to be picked up. So I try my UK phone only to discover that it's been cancelled due to disuse. Great. So I find a cash point that works and take a taxi to the house. No one is home. But now I have change from paying the cab and can walk up the street to use a pay phone. Where are these missing housemates? In town waiting for me. Oh dear.
I guess that's all....
Oh, one thing more not exactly related to traveling: I am not immune to catcalls or blatant stares, etc. while walking down the street. My favorite so far was yesterday when I was walking home from town a guy rolled down his window and just stuck his arm out with a thumbs up. (Girls probably aren't really supposed to talk about this for many different and complicated "polite" reasons, but I don't care.) I thought that was pretty funny.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Last night was my last time with my three favorite girls ever! We had so much fun sharing brownies and cookies and playing and reading together. Sydney appropriately picked Fox in Socks for the bedtime book. That is the one book I have read more to them than any other. (When Sydney was 4 I read it to her every day for an entire summer!) You've gotta love a book that starts out by telling you to take it slowly and ends by asking if your tongue is numb. I had a bit of a struggle with all the tongue twisters last night as I was trying desperately hard not to let the girls know that I was crying the whole time! I think I succeeded because I only stumbled once during the "Luke Luck likes lakes" part and I read the "Cheese Trees/Sneezy Fleas" bit three times! But my cover was blown when we had a big group hug and I had to keep wiping my eyes. Shelby asked, "What are you doing?" and I said, "I'm trying not to cry because I'm going to miss you so much!" They are the sweetest, kindest, most creative girls I've ever had the privilege to care for. And that is saying a lot.