Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
30|09:10 Modernity

In the lobby of the hotel beside the convention center
You stand and seethe, smoke curling from your ears,
White-knuckle grip on the credit card in hand
Which has just been so politely declined.
There are thoughts you think at these moments,
Crazy trainwrecks of credit card fraud, of hacked systems,
Of banks that had collapsed without warning,
Of fat cats in billion-dollar suits blowing your savings
On trillion-dollar toilets and vacations on Mars.
You think to yourself what could have happened,
The money was there last week, yesterday, this morning,
You've been traveling frugally, but did something happen?
Was there a bill you'd paid but forgotten about?
Did you buy a car when you weren't looking?
This is America, this is fear,
This is terror not of Jihad but of grocery bills,
Of unexpected children, of opportunities missed
Due to the chains clapped round your ankles by student loans,
The bill for the American Dream coming due
And despite all your work and glory and degrees
You're still found so, so wanting.
In the end, the truth comes out -
A freeze slapped on your card not for lack of funds
But for lack of locality, a skepticism of travel,
A suspicion of fraud that you find all too understandable,
Cleared up with the help of an operator and a few clicks of a mouse.
If only all of our fears could be assuaged so easily.

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