Monday, 18 June 2012

Heavy air

The air is heavy.

To our north the miners are rioting, throwing coal-cars onto the highways. In the cities tomorrow the unemployed and annoyed plan to rally, hoping that marching around the plaza and shouting might somehow lighten their burdens or brighten their futures.

To the east, in Greece, the economy totters and reels. Here in Spain, the timbers are shivering at the banks -- or so we are told. (So far, being even a shaky bank is a lot more fiscally safe than being a regular person. The government believes in shoring up even the most rapacious bankers, while leaving the regular folks to "practice austerity for our country´s sake.") I may be thrown off the free medical care gravy train at any time.  I´ve had a good ride.
 In America the Vatican is cracking down on nuns who do not toe the company line. In the Vatican itself police are uncovering a web of "dirty money" accounts used by the Mafia to sanctify their ill-gotten lucre.

In England, Princess Kate strapped on her $500 boots and went camping. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated herself with a huge street party, and millions of flag-waving commoners turned out to cheer for their best-beloved billionaire. European Cup football fills flat-screens in a million bars as the sports fans double-down on anesthesia.  There´s so much ache that wants treatment, so much angst, so little work to be had, and so much merchandise they just gotta have if they want to be worthwhile.    
Here in Moratinos Tim and Harry are having stomach trouble, probably from drinking water from ditches alongside chemically-treated fields. So far there´s no talk of opening the church this July so the pilgrims can stop in. Kim´s gone home to Florida. Paddy´s online horse-betting career is over, a victim of Spanish tax law. Having family members ship us low-cost goodies from America is now off, because the customs people are enforcing the import duty laws. No more powdered-sugar and cornmeal and hiking boot shipments, alas! Release of the paperback version of "The Moorish Whore" is delayed. I want to write another book, but I wonder if it´s worth all the trouble getting it out there. I wonder if I can afford to be a book publisher.

Should we get all our Euros out of the bank? Should we turn them all into pounds, or dollars? Should we hide all our silver in the bodega, buy more chickens, plant more lettuce, string up barbed wire?

Even with so much mayhem going on, the pilgrims keep coming. On bicycles, on foot, some with donkeys and some with little children. They still need food and shelter and company. Some of them still leave us money, some still want to become volunteers themselves. They talk about love and unity and kindness. Tonight they are a  young French girl and a young Quebecois Canadian man. They have walked here from Luzerne, in Switzerland. Both believe they will find jobs when they finish here and head home. They are full of confidence. They will find something, they say.  

Everybody´s looking for something. No one is really sure what it is. We keep living the way we always do, but the ground feels slippery underfoot. The air feels heavy.