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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Dream of the Apocalypse

The Apocalypse was not nearly as bad as everyone had expected and feared. The day after it happened, the President gave a reassuring speech from the Oval Office talking about American resilience and strength. Only a few days later, the NYSE reopened for trading – even the futures market – and while the insurance sector took a heavy beating, tech stocks rallied and other blue chips stabilized too. Soon enough restaurants began to reopen for take-out and most airlines resumed flights on their major routes. 

We went about business-as-usual wondering how to project revenues for next year. Reilly over in finance said at our Monday meeting the end of the world was no big deal, at most maybe a 10% decline in new orders. But I thought to myself, we really shouldn’t normalize this. How the hell can this be normalized? When the Queen Bee dies, the hive quickly falls into disrepair. So how can the worker bees continue to keep up with our routine? 

Time began to move backward. During Thursday’s planning meeting I sat and watched a stink bug crawl slowly back and forth across the top of my computer monitor. I got reissued a Blackberry which I hadn’t used in more than a dozen years. 

That night I flew to England with Dr. Portofino on the red eye where I was surprised to discover it was six hours earlier not later than New York. Portofino and I had dinner with two clients and after dinner we went for a walk around what used to be Trafalgar Square. It was only half an hour before curfew and the streets of London were filled with rubble, bricks and shards of glass, post-modern ruin lay everywhere. But a large passageway had been cleared through the rubble, and the Square felt lively, with hundreds of strollers out to enjoy the warm spring air. 

Civilization has a long fat tail, Portofino said, as he exhaled a thin trail of smoke from his panatela. 

One of the clients tapped me on the shoulder and said Look isn’t that Tom Petty and sure enough it was, which seemed strange because he’d been dead for more than half a dozen years.