Thursday, September 08, 2005

No Pirates Today, Just Big- Mouthed Cabbies

I had planned a festival of pirate-related entries, but today a cabbie irked me, and now I'm not in the mood. Such a trembling lily, you say? Screw you, too.

I've mentioned before that in NYC people routinely bring up the most divisive and heated topics as (un)pleasant small talk because of their downright European conviction that no one could possibly think elsewise.

So a cabbie I had today tried to continue his conversations from a previous passenger about Hurricane Katrina. I didn't volunteer word one, he kept talking, wouldn't drop it. I won't tell you what he wanted to have seen- it isn't my point- but it was actually from the times of FDR and I Like Ike. When I mentioned a contrary argument using examples of the 4 hurricanes in Florida last year and also the San Francisco earthquake, he said "that was a different time." He kept on and on with it though he was visibly disturbed by my opposition, and raised his voice repeatedly to interrupt me. On my part, I was annoyed by his lack of factual support for any of his points as well as his spitty elocution. Ah well. I shut the door still not believing that a non-disastrous, political situation from 60+ years ago was completely relevant to the events at hand. But it didn't matter, because his point was to apply blame at high volumes while achieving the head-nodding consensus people in NYC seem to assume as their right no matter how controversial or complex the topic.

In this catastrophe, I have decided the names of the sinkholes into which I pour my greatest personal scorn, but there's more than enough blame to spread around, as well as too much unsung bravery, strength, and generosity of spirit. First and most of all, I attribute this calamity to Katrina. Then, the nightmarish cataclysm was combined with what may be usual (though here they became lethal) quantities of bureauocratic paralysis, corruptions, and incompetencies across various levels. That some people failed and some people broke bad under incredible stress isn't surprising. That public monies assigned to protect against similar situations seems to have been misapplied is disappointing, too, but not unprecedented. That people avoided "crying wolf" until it was too late to cry for anything but salvation seems a poor economy now, but many such bullets have been dodged before. That Americans' typically sunny optimism often fails to take appropriately grim measures for horrible outcomes isn't surprising either. However, the response of other citizens, communities, organizations, charities, companies, and churches is more energetic and coordinated, self-sacrificing and utilitarian than I could've dreamed.

Let other people work on who's to blame and fix it if they can. I'm focusing on the first proposal for the future I've heard that I can support. Recently, Congress and the President signed a hideously porklicious highway bill after it was trimmed down slightly from a criminal obscenity to merely appalling gluttony. How's about we redirect some of that bacon sandwich to areas of the country that will surely need it?

UPDATE: Apparently it's not just me and the Heritage Foundation. The NYT's editorial staff chimed in today favoring ham donations, too.

I will get back to my beloved pirates soon, because I find them as refreshing as a tall glass of lemonade. Still, I wish New York in general would leave me alone, stop begging for my attention and intruding upon me, quit with so much of the non-stop noisy blah-blah and keep its big trap shut. Won't happen.

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