The State of the Nation

I’ve been running a lot of errands lately. In the late afternoon the weather is still warm enough for teenagers to go around in their smelly souped-up  2-stroke bikes, but it’s already chilly enough for fashionable ladies to go around in their smelly compact SUVs, while wannabee drivers of the so called Motor Valley screech the tyres of their smelly diesel sports cars.

Nowadays people do not drive vehicles, they drive oxymorons of death. I shall forgive teenagers, because a 2-stroke bike is what they were given by their parents instead a proper bike. But grown adults have no excuse, not even the crappy jobs they’re trying to forget about in the late afternoon.

Of course I tend to be oversensitive about the quality of the air, being an asthmatic, so don’t mind me. Just remember not to inhale too deeply if you happen to visit here.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I was trying to buy some fairly expensive tax stamps I needed, so I went to this licensed place and asked the unhappy woman if she could accept a debit card. She lowered her head and said in a low voice “oh no we don’t have the point-of-sale equipment”, sounding like “we’re too poor for that”. As soon as I was finished replying “ok then, I’ll pay cash” a loud, thunderous, pouring noise filled the place. I didn’t recognize it at first, it was kind of metallic. I turned around, and I saw a grim man emptying a video-poker machine into what looked like a coin counter. The man eyed me suspiciously for a moment, then went back to his job. The noise went on and on, and no one seemed to care. I thought well we don’t really need a debit card or cash, we could just use some of those coins to pay for the tax stamps ha ha ha. But the woman seemed so unhappy, and the man looked so grim, and it was too loud anyway. At some point the unhappy woman said something I could not hear, so she screamed over the noise that she was sorry, she had tried, but the “connection was unavailable”, she could not print the tax stamps.

I left the place and the grim man was still emptying the video-poker machine  into the coin counter. I had a quick glance. There were at least five thousand Euros in 2 Euro coins in there.

And this is the state of the nation.