Some profess to see the future in tea leaves; I prefer to drink what they produce. Some claim a talent for predicting weather from cloud patterns; I simply look at them and enjoy unusual formations.
The sky of London on Sunday sent mixed signals to the seers. I took the above photo while standing on a side street of Sloane Street in Belgravia. I was waiting to picked up by a friend for lunch at a quintessential English club (cricket, bowls, croquette, lawn tennis, Pimms, etc.)
I lingered in a district known for inflated real estate prices and people with too much money. I stood in front a Baby Dior, whose window display showed miniature haute couture, absurdly expensive duds for infants to wear once and to impress its parent’s friends.
This is an area for people with too much money and occasional lack of sense or proportion. I witnessed three women emerge from a huge Rolls Royce stopped in a no parking zone; behind it stood a large Mercedes from which emerged other ladies. A doorman at one of the ritzy shops explained that this was some “princess”, with her entourage in the following car. The drivers stood in the middle of Sloane Street to stop traffic to let the women saunter across to some appealing store. No one honked, surely accepting such behavior from their “betters”. And, this is a street clogged with Bentleys, Ferraris, Porches, Aston Martins, and the like. Even Dubai does not have the concentration one sees in Belgravia.
No wonder that I enjoy looking up at clouds...
I watched the latest Hunger Games film on the plane. To be more correct, I started to watch it. Unlike with the first installment, I did not watch to the end.
But, the film did cause me to think. Is this a metaphor for how the United States will end up with the increasing income inequality? As in the film, will a small minority enjoy too much, while the majority barely survive on too little, toiling so that the rich can gorge themselves and play at whatever tickles his or her fancy? Although highly stylized in the film, much of this already is happening. If you do not believe me, visit Appalachia, parts of which surely inspired the filmmakers....
Phrases such as income equality, class warfare, and 1% are frequently heard or seen in the media. I read an article at the beach today on the subject of social mobility, which stated that a study has shown little change in the numbers over the past 50 years, but that the numbers have always been low. One conclusion, summed up be the saying of a political scientist: poor people “made the mistake of being born into a poor family”.
This subject came to mind as I watched the ship--this bloody monster cannot be called a yacht--in the below photo glide into view off the shore of Dubai and drop anchor.
The photo is a true example of income inequality. People enjoying the beach, such as those in the photo...and me, can afford to spend a few days at a resort and are served by workers from the poorest countries, but can’t hold a candle to the guy who rides his helicopter from his boat to somewhere in Dubai.
If you think that only refined, high class folks travel by luxury yacht, perhaps the below photo will cause you to review your prejudice. This boat passed in front of our villa on the way to somewhere.
Note the washing flapping in the breeze on the upper deck, a place usually reserved for lounging. I would have thought that such folks would have a clothes dyer.
I am reaching the point at which I cannot even scan headlines from the United States.
What kind of people are Republican congressmen and senators? All the adjectives that come to mind probably border on libel, so I will leave the question to be answered by others.
How can people be so greedy to desire enhanced wealth at the expense of less fortunate? None have heard the song Streets of London or look left or right out their cars with tinted windows. The decline of cites, towns, highways, and other infrastructure do not interest them. Saving a dollar on income taxes of the wealthy is more important than compassion for other people or the state of their country. How has the country reached a point where the choice is between further tax cuts for the rich and reduced medical benefits for the elderly and poor?
I do not know whether to be angry or sad. I know one thing for sure: I am happy to live a country with a more-equitable distribution of wealth and general interest in civil society.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.