Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold,
The best lack all conviction,
while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
I look at my morning newspaper and see a picture of a group of young adults who should know better, crowded on a Vancouver beach with no distance at all between them. We line up, maintaining our distance to get into the grocery store, only to find once in there, some boor pushing in ahead of us to squeeze the tomatoes. Until the penalty for not wearing a mask became significant, my count revealed about one in five people wore a mask. The threat of a several hundred dollar fine changed that and now most people are wearing masks. The devastation that is being inflicted on the elderly did not bother many.
The resentment of the mob at being given good protective advice shouldn't be surprising, given that there is an army of idiots out there called anti-vaxxers, who want to eliminate the greatest contribution that medicine has ever made, immunization. Their ignorance is astounding. Millions of dollars of public funding are expended on tests and treatments of no proven value and the mob is clamoring for more and yet millions resent being required to wear a mask for public safety even if not for their own. Somehow, they see this as an infringement of their rights, which they see as including contaminating anyone within range. Many want to remove all restraint including defunding the police. The permissive, self indulgent society is beginning to unravel. As Yeats predicted, the centre cannot hold. Societal control ls increasingly in the hands of the uber-liberals who keep society quiet with abortions and drugs.
Just look at what is going on around you and despite the fake news, it is obvious that the centre cannot hold.
The decline is accelerating.
Monday, 17 August 2020
Wednesday, 5 August 2020
Harry had managed to get a few hours sleep that night. Fortunately the mid-week crossing was not very busy, and he had managed to stretch out across a few seats and lulled by the steady throbbing of the engines, get more hours sleep than he expected. He dreamed that he was being interviewed by Dave at the end of the month, and Dave was so impressed by his work that he not only kept him on, but asked him if he would consider becoming a manager in another couple of months. He awoke to Dave's poking him in the ribs, and saying,
"If you stay on much longer you'll be back in Manchester!"
As Harry walked out onto the deck he saw the deckhands securing the boat to the large black iron bollards and rolling down the gangplanks. He watched while the First Class passengers leisurely disembarked, and the third class passengers waited impatiently for their turn. While he waited he surveyed the Dublin Docks, and thought how much less ominous they looked than the Liverpool ones. It was early in the morning, but the traffic was moving already, and what traffic, it was a gallimaufry of everything from horse-drawn carts, old vans,and cars, and even hand-drawn vehicles. In those pre-war days there were functional electric delivery vehicles that were abandoned when petrol became plentiful after world war two. Dublin had an old world charm that Manchester had lost. The gentle pushing from behind him intensified as the sailor in charge of the barrier unhooked the chain that stopped people from moving forward. Harry surged forward like a warrior leading a mighty throng of invaders onto a beach-head. He felt a frisson of anticipation wash over him, as he set foot on his new country. A few minutes later however, when the first thrill of landing had abated slightly, he wondered what to do now. It was seven o'clock on Friday morning. He wondered how he was going to get to the city centre. He could see taxis lined up at the quayside, but no signs of public transportation. He had no intention of spending that sort of money to get down-town, at least not unless he really had to. He had to conserve his few pounds. He was about to ask one of the other passengers who still remained from the rapidly dispersing crowd, when he heard his name being called.
"Need a ride down town," asked Dave from the back of a taxi that had pulled alongside him.
"Yes please," said Harry. "You're turning out to be a real guardian angel," he laughed.
"Might as well have two in the taxi as one."
Harry climbed awkwardly into the back of the cab, dragging his suitcase onto his lap and trying not to poke Dave with it.
"Where are you heading for?" Dave asked him.
"Remember I told you last night about this friend of mine who invited me to stay with him? He has a flat in a house in Stamer St., so even though he will be at work, I thought I would head over there and maybe the landlady would let me leave my case there, and then I would scout out the area a bit and find out how to get from there to your factory, so that I would know where to come on Monday morning. Do you know where Stamer Street is?" Harry asked.
"Sure, it's a street right off the South Circular Road," Dave said. "If you take the number sixteen, seventeen or nineteen bus and ask them to drop you off at the Synge St. Christian Brothers School, you'll be just around the corner, and it's easy to get to our factory from there too. Almost any of the buses that go down town will take you within easy walking distance. I gave you our business card last night, so you have the address."
The taxi turned left into the large wide busy O'Connell Street. Dave touched the driver on the shoulder.
"Can you pull in over here and drop this fellow off at a bus stop?"
"Okay," said the driver, maneuvering the taxi into the lane closest to the sidewalk. He drew the car to a stop just beside the bus-stop.
"Thanks again," said Harry, lugging his suitcase after him as he backed out of the taxi.
"Good luck," said Dave,"see you Monday morning. Don't be late," he added.
Exactly one hour later Harry was standing outside an old three story house, looking a little the worse for wear, but still retaining a certain genteel dignity. The big, dark brown,heavy front door boasted a large brass knocker, gleaming so brightly that Harry noticed his fingerprints all over it as he let go after giving two smart knocks. A pleasant,plump,grey haired grand-motherly looking woman opened the door. She smiled at Harry. (People often did in those days!)
"And what can I do for you?" she said.
"Does Mick Levy live here?" Harry asked.
"Yes, he has the basement flat,but he's out at work now," she said.
"Mick is a friend of mine, and invited me to stay with him."
"Oh," said the woman, "he didn't mention anything about it to me."
"Well, he didn't actually know that I was coming right now."
"I can't let you into his flat," she said.
"I know that," said Harry, "but I would like to leave my suitcase here, if you wouldn't mind, and then I'll come back this evening when Mick is home.
"I suppose that would be okay," the woman answered.
"Thanks very much," Harry said, sliding the suitcase into the hall.
"You're welcome, dear," the woman said.
"One last thing, is there a library near here?" he asked.
She directed him to a nearby public library.
Harry walked up to the counter in the library. It had only taken him ten minutes to walk there. The library was very quiet at that hour of the morning. The librarian rose from her desk and bid him a good morning.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"Yes please, do you have any books about sewing machines?" Harry asked her.
"Books about sewing machines," Harry repeated.
"Er, I'll have to look it up, if you can just wait a few moments," she said.
"That's fine, I'm in no hurry."
She walked over to file card cabinet.
"Sewing machines,sewing machines," she murmured to herself,as she rifled through the drawers full of filing cards. Then, as near as she could get to a shriek of triumph,
"Here we are, 'The History of the Development of the Sewing Machine',"
"Not exactly what I'm looking for." said Harry.
"Hold on a minute,'Maintenance and Repair of Sewing Machines'"
"Now we're getting warmer," Harry said encouragingly.
"Here's 'How to Use Your Sewing Machine Like a Professional'."
"That's it," Harry said, "where can I find that?"
"Go right along to isle M," said the librarian, pointing straight ahead.
You'll find it under,er let me see here, yes 304.22721.
"Thank you," said Harry.
Harry walked over to the shelves and found the book, as well as another called 'Sewing Made Easy'. He looked at his watch. It was almost noon. He hadn't a library card, so he took the two books and slipped them on another self,just in the unlikely event that someone would come looking to take them out while he went for lunch. He hadn't had anything to eat yet today, he was never much of a breakfast eater anyway, but suddenly he felt very hungry. He walked back to the desk and filled in the necessary applications for a library card. He was told it would be ready for him the following week, but he could have a temporary one in the meantime. Next, with his books under his arm he went out to look for something to eat. He walked along the street and found a small restaurant that was almost empty. He looked for the cheapest things on the menu and settled on fish and chips. He ordered fish with a double order of chips and a cup of tea and perused the library books, careful to avoid getting grease on them. He had two days to familiarize himself with sewing machines, at least in theory!
It was after five o’clock so he decided to go back to Mick’s place and hang around until Mick showed up.
He didn’t have to wait long. Mick showed up just before six and seemed genuinely glad to see him.
“Hi, Harry, what are you doing here?”
“I’m starting a new job on Monday morning. Just got off the boat a few hours ago. Since you offered to put me up if I was ever in Dublin, I thought I would pop in on you and see if you could put me up until I find somewhere to live,” Harry asked awkwardly. “If it’s inconvenient , don’t worry, I’ll find somewhere.”
“No problem, I’ve got room. Where are your bags?”
“I asked your landlady could I leave them with her, when you weren’t in. I told her I’d be back when you got home from work.” Harry said.
“Well you come in, unload your bags and we’ll open up the hide-a-bed for you to sleep on. Then we’ll go down to Mooney’s for a pint!