Poor poor Peggy. She’s come down with a pundit’s case of the Notices. Every time she gets a feeling about a thing, she Notices that it’s come to life. Her emotions routinely spring up everywhere around her. She’s happy. The daisies! She’s sad. The rain. Those things weren’t there before, folks.
When you’re a writer it just doesn’t get any better than that. It’s like a miracle, having the world made new every day by the whims of your moods. In the forms of other people, in their doings, and in their jobs. In the habits of their President, his icky words, and his pitiful failings. In the environs of the Wyndham of Bradford Woods, with its miserable employees, and dreary walkways:
I’m in Pittsburgh, making my way to the airport hotel. The people movers are broken and we pull our bags along the dingy carpet. There’s an increasing sense in America now that the facades are intact but the machinery inside is broken.
I scratch at the surface of something here. But just what? What is the thing? I don’t know. Is it bad? I think the thing is. I think it’s a bad thing.
The hotel has entrances on two floors. I search for the lobby, find it. Travelers are milling about, but there’s no information desk, no doorman, no bellman or concierge, just two harried-looking workers at a front desk on the second level.
There’s something here . . less. Smaller than it was. Not the full. Couldn’t call it proper. As if sagging. Or shrinking. A . . depressing. Yes. Of something, but what? I don’t know.
Things are getting pretty bare-bones in America. Doormen, security, bellmen, people working the floor—that’s maybe a dozen jobs that should have been filled, at one little hotel on one day in one town. Everyone’s keeping costs down, not hiring.
What that hotel looked like is America without its muscle, its efficiency, its old confidence.
That’s it. America. It’s not what it used to be. It’s not as good. It’s not as grand. The country is less. It’s all noticeable now. Things have changed, not for the better. Yes that’s it. Wonder. Somebody. Who did this?
Meanwhile, the president is stuck in his games and his history. He should have seen unemployment entering a crisis stage four years ago, and he did not.
He did not. That’s who did this. That’s how it happened. And where has he been? Why hasn’t he done anything? The way it is now, just look at it. Heavens. Business. Unemployment. I don’t. Like it.
At that time I was certain he’d go for public-works projects, which could give training to the young and jobs to the experienced underemployed, would create jobs in the private sector and, in the end, yield up something needed—a bridge, a strengthened power grid. He instead gave his first term to health care.
To healthcare. And the stimulus package. Let’s not forget that. That was, what, $700 billion? For? I don’t even know. A trillion dollars. For what?