New Worth Working


From 3:AM Magazine:

It was 11.30am and the temperature was airport. There is nowhere colder or warmer inside the totalizing monochrome space. There is just airport climate. At 5pm I had a meeting in Madrid with someone who was translating one of my plays. All morning I had been preparing a conference paper I was to deliver a few days later. I would have to keep working my usual London job distantly, while doing some translation work in Madrid.

Basically, it was a normal work day—the new normal of neoliberal work days that never end because social interaction is also work. It is networking, which sounds painfully close to “working” and “net worth”. But still, I was at an airport so obviously I had a pint.

I had to drink the beer in massive gulps, looking around every few seconds at an infinity of screens that made me feel like a reversed Panopticon watching all the millions of machines accumulating data about my every move in order to sell me another pint, another flight. I walked airportly to the gate, the legs-straight-out-in-front sliding-over-faux-marble strut of the airport, marching proudly—like I’m the only person going anywhere, despite the obvious singularity of pursuit that put us all here—with the legal right to carry a loaded wheelie-bag.

We had already been assigned seats and there was no benefit in getting on the plane first, but anyway I stood in the queue. A few rebels remained seated at the gate, monumentally superior to everyone waiting in the queue, and I hated every one of those seated bastards. Some of them weren’t even wielding wheelie-bags. They still bore the weight of their laptops and airport whisky on their backs!

Since I couldn’t quit the queue and leave my place in the race to get to my assigned seat, and obviously it was impossible to resist downing a pint (I was in an airport, damn it!), by the time we got on the plane I was bursting for the loo. Then, because I’d had a pre-midday pint and the only solid options were soggy green socks dipped in oil and draped between two wartime granny’s curtains (the “Vegetarian Sandwich”) for a whole day’s wage, I was absolutely starving.

What would cause such madness?

“Sky Market: The Ideal Neoliberal Non-Nation”, Elliot C. Mason, 3:AM Magazine

Image by A. Savin via Wikimedia Commons (cc)