Over the weekend, caught the last episode of "Blackadder Goes Forth (or Fourth)" which is the saddest episode of the whole set (well, duh, since it's a comedy!). At the end of each Blackadder series everybody dies a horrible death, but it's surreal and it's funny. At the end of this one, set in a trench in WWI, everybody goes over the top and dies and it's not funny. It's terribly, terribly sad. "In Flanders Field the poppies grow" (John McCrae). "Poppies for young men, death's bitter trade" (Sting). And the series treats it as such--there's no closing credits, no music, just the field as it is now, soft and green. Stephen Fry before The Baftas and his novel and Bright, Young Things. Tony Robinson before archeology. Rowan Atkinson before Mr. Bean, and of course, slack-jawed and feeble looking, Hugh Laurie before "House". It was strange to watch "House" tonight and think of George. What's funny is that you can see what great actors they are. When George says he's scared it's touching and sweet. It's not a punchline.
Begging isn't what it used to be--a man hit me up for money when I was filling my car with gas yesterday. He'd just begun his spiel of trying to get back to New Haven, but not having money when I cut him off with, "I really don't have any cash on me at all." And I really didn't. I had about 37 cents in dimes and pennies. I think he was getting the same story from everyone. We were all buying our gas with plastic like we buy everything these days. I didn't have any cash because I'd spent the last of it at Staples because I was only buying $5.00 worth of stuff and I hated to put it on the card. We are moving further and further away from hard or paper money. Now I have my lovely Charlie card with $13.00 left on it for the train. I think I even have a little money on a Metro card for NY. One of my bosses has a Starbucks card with $98 on it. And I refill all of those things with plastic. I'd like to not have hard money. I definitely think we're moving towards it. I think (and this is the subject of much debate between myself and my husband) that we will have our credit information embedded under our skin like David Mitchell's soul in Cloud Atlas (see old post). So what will beggars do? Will they carry credit readers? Will we be taking them into stores to buy them things as some of my friends do now? What happens when they don't want what you offer if it's not cash?