Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Zero Humanity + Daily Indignity =

Not Ann

I spoke last week with a friend of mine in Istanbul.  Ann has been living in Turkey for the past ten years or so.  Having just become a part-time expatriate myself, I was happy to catch up with her ... but decidedly less happy that our conversation kept returning to our country, and the stresses which lead to madness in America.

Every week, there's a pent-up release of bloodshed, a new "latest shooting" which makes the news.  Seventy-four school shootings in the U.S. since Sandy Hook.

...How many???

Seventy-four school shootings in the past eighteen months.  Doing some quick math, that's about four shootings per month ... or a deadly, public shooting each week!

One can only imagine the daily horrors ... the actual "latest" killings, updated on our collective akashic record, but otherwise ignored by the breathless who show up on TV for the 'big ones':  to furrow their brows and look "concerned", and gesticulate, holler, emote with weird voices and burp about gun control (... or not.  Too often, protecting our children falls by the wayside, with "fair and balanced" demands that we protect our 18th century right to bear arms.).

Though this sorry, and particularly American, state of telejournalism -- and its attendant looks, movements, voices, inflections, cackling, guffaws, fake camaraderie and endless transparency -- is in itself, a painful horror to watch ... the real daily horror, the every day pain Americans tend to inflict on each other -- the killings; the psychological need to harm or take life in America -- is not an "event", and therefore goes largely unreported.

What causes it?

My friend Ann and I were discussing this.  Neither of us will ever know, fully understand, live and breathe like second skins, our adopted cultures and imposed new languages - hers, Turkish, mine German.  The best that we'll be able to do, at this point in our mid-lives, is to try and comprehend our own ...

That is, American.

To be an American in this century, particularly, this decade, is to be slapped and assaulted and abused at each turn; to face zero humanity, suffer daily indignity ... To be stripped of privacy, financial freedom or any expectation of same.

Wait, let me explain:

From the "deposits" sucked off of your credit card balances -- to stay in a hotel room or rent a vehicle, say -- to being told you can't stay, or drive, if you don't have a "deposit".  Though your room, and your vehicle, are fully prepaid, the "deposit" may prevent you from staying or driving.  Unable to check in, then, you're out on the street!  Or unable to get where you're needing to go.

(And then you're insulted with semantics:

"It's only an 'authorization'.  You are not being charged, sir."

Oh.  That's OK then.  I don't have access to the $250 that you're "authorizing" in addition to payment -- I can't use it or buy anything with it, since it's being "held" -- and although it's been "authorized" from me immediately (not by me, mind you, but from me), it will take up to seven business days (!??) until it's returned to my credit or debit card and I'm able to spend it again.

Because you haven't CHARGED the amount, of course, thank God!  You're only "authorizing" it, correct?

I understand.  I'll just wait a week.)

... to being told, "I can't help you.", when you ask if the airline really needs the $30 fee for your carry-on bag.

"Why don't you ask the CEO?" you're actually asked, snidely in response, by a monstrous dismissive who can't give a fuck.  Clearly, this creature doesn't want to be there dealing with you, any more than you do, her ... Except it's her job to deal with you.  Courteously.  Professionally.

She fails at it daily.

When you try to complain, speak to anyone, someone ... You're only met with telephone "options" (all of which, "recently changed", of course!).  No human being to hear you screaming...

No common sense arguments need apply.  Just tap-tap-tap, computer says "NO!".

It's enough to make a grown man cry.  Or ...