George Bush Stole My Lunch Money......
As Alpha Chef....he got to escape first, and flew off to Prague for a bare two weeks' break.
Meanwhile, the Store computer actually rusted....the hard-drive RUSTED in our delightful work environment......and I have been using Brendan's Euro-trash computer.
Chief among its charms is a little meter on the desktop that tells you how the dollar is doing vs. the Czech crown.
It is seriously fucking depressing. I guess in 'California personal appearance terms' it would be like looking in the mirror and watching your hair fall out in time-lapse photography....or watching your boobs plummet towards the floor.
And you can't escape it. It is right there on the desktop. The dollar is plummeting into the toilet like the Jamaican bobsled team.
When he left.....10 days ago....the crown was at 18.66. Then it was 18.5, then 18.3. This is Sunday in America, and the banks just opened in Prague and we are at 18.1. More than three percent in a week.
Amanda and I were in Prague two years ago. The dollar was at 28. The thousand dollars we left at the bank there....is now worth $640.
People think that there is a real estate bubble if the prices drop FIVE percent.
Pre-George Bush.....I was in Italy in 2000. The euro was worth 86 cents. It is now a buck and a half....heading to two dollars. In the seven years of George Douche's annointed presidency he has trashed the dollar by HALF!
But who gives a shit anyway. George himself had never been out of the country until he was elected.....well, except those whorehouse runs to Laredo.
This fact alone is amazing.
George and I are almost colleagues. He was Ivy League, I was Ivy League. He is a couple of years older....but in the late sixties you could fly to London for a hundred bucks. I used to fly over to check on my motorcycle in Cambridge and drink pints of great beer at $.15 a pint. It was cheaper to fly to London than hang out it New York. Icelandic Air was like Match.com. College girls with trust funds. A six hour layover in Reykyavic.....or fucking Goose Bay, Labrador: the island, not the retriever.
And I was painting houses for money. George, by contrast, had no cash flow problem.....and apparently no interest in the world at large.
His people still don't, I guess. The twenty some-odd percent of the population who still think George is doing a good job are probably not bright enough to figure out the whole passport thing. Cancun is off limits now, but you don't need a passport to get into DollyLand!
So, now...to make it personal: Amanda and I work and live all year to be able to go to Spain....and eat....and live and breathe in an intact culture. We don't go to movies, we don't even rent movies. We don't eat out....well, except for Stokes and Garcia Taqueria.
Our budget for the month of January in Spain might be ten grand. Crappy little pensiones, lotsa bread and cheese....the world's smallest car......and a few (well, more than a few....) real inspirational lunches.
An inspirational lunch....one that makes life worth living, one that lights up the creative chi, one that claws back the lizard brain that wants to just go to sleep and wake up in the Obama Spring.....costs around 275 euros. Nine or ten courses, some Cava, an inexpensive local wine. Weeping and tears in the face of extra-terrestrial creativity and skill.
In 2000, this cost $235. Breath-taking, but tolerable. Dinner for ten at The Cachagua Store.
Last year it had climbed to $385.
Now it is $412.50....and climbing to $550.
The cost forces a reverence and a focus that inevitably skews the entire experience. One is no longer Gatsby.....one is Chauncey Gardener. Lunch at Akelarre.....overlooking the entire Atlantic; served by a gorgeous Chilean political refugee; with food so complex, technical and esoteric as to challenge all one's intellectual, sensory and emotional depths.....not to mention Kirsten Dunst in a peasant blouse talking about the rights of man and the soccer stadium in downtown Santiago.....now becomes a good-bye scene.
So.....in the $10,000 budget....a drop of 3.85% equals lunch at Akelarre. Almost.
Sorry, we won't be back. We can't afford it.
Our President has pissed in the well. His dumbass corporate buddies could fly in on their G-5's and buy lunch in a heartbeat....but they would have no clue what is going on, and would be bored by course #3, and would never have the patience to drive up Monte Urguel, and would certainly never take the bus from Gupuizkoa Plaza.
There was a brief time when we Americans were closing the culture gap on Europe, and beginning to be able to play as equals. Despite the destruction of our culture by the Knobs, our energy and enthusiasm carried us forward.
Now....no one wants our shit. Big, dumb, wasteful cars. Big, dumb wasteful films. Big, dumb wasteful wars. Don't even talk about our food.
The reward for George W. Bush's aggressively ignorant cultural nihilism?
The two dollar euro that puts America back where it was in 1812.....a dangerous, annoying backwash.
And kiss my ass, you ignorant, frat-boy piece of shit.
Have a nice day.
When we fly out of Bilbao on Feb 2, I will be crying real tears.....not like last time, of joy at a gleeful experience......but bitter ones of loss at a world I will henceforth be denied by the ignorant, greedy, crass motherfuckers who have captured the country of my birth.
I am buying a bag load of "Jail George Bush" t-shirts.....so we can get served in the tapas bars we can still afford.
I hope that Irish passport comes through soon.