I woke up feeling human. That’s not a magic spell, either, it’s just 11:30 hours of sleep. You see, this was QUITE the most arduous course to Portugal we’ve ever done.
It’s not unusual for us to travel for 18 to 20 hours, but this one was 35 hours, counting, granted the one night in Madrid, which would have worked fine if the hotel were in the terminal we left from and we hadn’t spent three hours looking for it, then gone back early in case there were more confusions. So in those 35 hours, I had eight hours of sleep, save for a few minutes leaning on Dan on the flight from NYC to Denver, interrupted because the much-the-worse-for-the… not wear passenger on the window seat leaned over and poured wine over my behind and seat.
Yesterday I couldn’t sleep past about 5:30 am and it was iffy sleep since two cats who shall be named — Greebo and Havelock — kept headbutting us and crying for pets. I have told them that someone will be along to pull their cat cards shortly and that they’re supposed to ignore us for a week. They cried some more.
So last night I passed out at 8:30 pm, after stumbling around for 15 hours in a fog. And I woke at my normal time, just before the alarm goes at 7 am. And I feel human.
Now the human I feel like has a sore throat but my nose is not as clogged as it was, and I plan to gargle with mouth wash shortly. I will not say the fact that all THREE of our planes had a lot of passengers from China worries me, but it worries me. And for the idiots following along to find issues: not because the passengers are Asian. Asian-American passengers would cause no alarm. But it was obvious these passengers were Chinese from China (the airlines boasted of continuing the flight of Chinese airlines; they spoke no English whatsoever; their personal distance was zero (I had to shove my elbow into a lady who, while standing in the isle had been practically sitting in my lap for the better part of half an hour and who did not understand “excuse me.”)) and China has not the only (South and Central America and parts of Europe are as bad) but the highest concentration of people sharing living space (as in same house) with farm animals. This increases greatly the chance that zoonotic diseases will make the cross over, which is why we get things like bird flu. So, if the sore throat doesn’t subside by tomorrow, I shall invoke the doc in the box. For now, I’m going with “It’s probably just dryness.”
I’m just very glad to no longer be running through airports, particularly foreign airports with inexplicable rules and an attitude that the customer is always wrong, probably a terrorist and definitely a peon.
I know if I stop complaining about the TSA you guys will come over and examine the basement for pods. And this is a problem since #1 son and lovely daughter in law are living in the basement apartment for the next year (and they’d tell me if there were pods.)
Also I have no intention of stopping complaining, simply because I think for the disruption they cause, they are stunningly ineffective.
And yet, they treat people more as human beings than the equivalent in any other country I’ve ever flown through since 9/11.
We were talking about it with friends yesterday and the conclusion is more or less universal. And sure, there is a factor of culture. Germans do come across as though they’re going to shoot you at any minute, but they’re fast, efficient, and don’t add petty malice for no reason. British are probably the closest to the US, at least to the extent there will always be an England. (But I haven’t flown through there since 9/11.)
But the others — as a friend put it — all have a tendency to take the weird authoritarian things the US engages in now and then and make it exponentially worse, with gratuitous authoritarianism and strange class stuff thrown in.
So why don’t we get as bad even when we start it? Why is this yet another case of “When America gets a cold the rest of the world gets the flu?”
I’d like to say it’s because we’re a nation set apart and blessed by G-d. I’d like to believe it too. Sometimes I even do.
We’re just a nation, getting increasingly diluted with other cultures that we make no effort to assimilate.
However, a conversation with my brother came to mind. It was the last meal we had in Portugal, Tuesday lunch. Somehow motorcycle helmets came up. And my brother explained to my parents that Americans have weird hangups and fought tooth and nail laws on mandatory helmet use and seat belt use, despite the obvious benefits of both.
At which point I explained that (It’s not true that “F*ck you, no” became my catchphrase this trip, but it’s also not a total lie) “F*ck you, no. I don’t care how beneficial it is, what right does the government have to mandate things EVEN IF THEY ARE GOOD FOR YOU.”
At which point everyone but my husband stared at me in sheer incomprehension.
Which, ladies and gentlemen, cats and dogs, and blue creatures from alpha centauri, is why we must — MUST — hold the line on these things, and go back to that amazing document our constitution.
There is no reason under the sun that the government should have the power to tell us what to do or wear “for your own good.” Oh, semi-socialized medicine? Glad you reminded me, because that has no business under the constitutional mandate given to the government of the US. That fig leaf of interstate commerce is obviously tattered and transparent.
We must remember we the people are the sovereign ruler of these our lands, this our people. We. Not the experts. Not those in charge. Not the best people. WE. The sovereign people in their sovereign land.
Anyone who thinks otherwise should, by rights, either look for some other place to live, or consider becoming simply a permanent resident. Because Americans, they ain’t.
Our Constitution, our founding principles are NOT a magic spell. They must be held and defended.
But tattered and torn, and observed almost only in the default as they are, they’re still incomprehensible to anyone not American. And the only thing that keeps us from becoming another petty Kakistocracy.
Lift the lamp of freedom high, my friends. The residual light from it is the only light in many places in the world. And that’s why the cockroaches fear it.