Being Happy With Crumbs

The sky remains threatening, though there are small patches of blue. The ground is saturated, roadside ditches are full and there’s plenty of standing water where there shouldn’t be. It’s not very warm. The air’s quite thick. It’s nothing like July should be.

Meanwhile … people everywhere today were – I am sure – downright chirpy. The numerous cyclists were cheery, the walkers waved, motorists were merry and horse riders were happy. Sonning – Woodley – Hurst – Twyford – Wargrave – Henley was a route lined with people cutting grass, trimming hedges, doing a bit of weeding, a spot of digging. A school fundraising sale was heaving. A riverside ice cream kiosk was doing a brisk trade.

The swamps of Central Berkshire, nowhere near a river.

The swamps of Central Berkshire, nowhere near a river.

It’s a lesson in human nature. The weather’s been dismal for weeks and is set to continue to be as bad. This is a one-day break in it, a brief respite, and we’re all out there grabbing the opportunity, making the most of it and, most importantly, actively enjoying it, even though it’s not a particularly nice day by any regular measure of a summer’s day.

We, humans, are very good at adjusting, at being grateful for small mercies, at picking up crumbs of comfort. We become accustomed to a situation and then are pleased whenever it’s not as bad as we’ve become accustomed to. It’s what allows humans to survive when they’re in extreme circumstances.

It occurs to me, that’s also how the rich can continue: as long as the system doles out a few crumbs of comfort to the masses, it’s human nature to just get used to iniquities and be happy with the crumbs. It occurs to me to wonder how long governments can continue to maintain this system on behalf of the rich – the crumbs are getting harder to give as the rich fail to see they need to pay enough to maintain that status quo, as their greed overtakes any sense of self-preservation.

It occurs to me, too, that the very, very rich operate the same ‘crumbs’ approach when reeling-in politicians. It’s easy for billionaires to butter-up actual and wannabe millionaires, the graspers who make up our political class.