10.11.2005

Large Victorian church near Worseley

Last night Mr. Me and I were watching a program about non-conformist Methodists in Ashton-under-Lyne near Manchester. Through happy coincidence while I was looking for more information about the union leaders, for a potentially bad analogy, I solved the mystery of another church style. The one I've taken from my Flickr account is in the 'Perpendicular Style.' Not as exotic as French Romanesque but it will do. As the caption says there are a lot of these style in and around Greater Manchester.

By non-conformists I don't mean shaven headed kids with wine corks pushed through their ears. Though surely that would count for at least a little lacking in conformity. What I'm speaking of were the Victorian Protestants who struggled through hard labor and no money to create their own doctrines and lifestyles.

It was the mill and land owners who said they should suffer with it and know their place. If these high and powerful men wanted to cut the wages of a laborer from 9 shillings to 6, they damned well could. It was all a matter of knowing that your breeding, your life and the lives of your family were all completely inferior to them in the eyes of the law and potentially, God.

That kind of struggle makes me consider my own. I've already said that I don't believe the opportunity for irrational phobias would be taken if my life was less comfortable. I make a decent amount of money although it never seems to be enough. I want more and believe that the excesses are attainable without the assistance of my neighbors.

And is that where we're going wrong? Earlier this morning a coworker walked in as I was concentrating on a piece of documentation from Novell. He started in with his question and didn't pause to find out if I already was busy or occupied. Naturally my response was churlish. I was interrupted, my concentration was lost and something I couldn't have known in the first place caused time to be wasted. It was a simple lack of courtesy that raised my hackles, the assumption that my day was filled with nothing better to do than find company letterhead for someone else.

Is it a matter of me no longer knowing my place? Or of him not knowing his? Chances are that as the workers came together to build new churches and create trade unions they realized a certain sense of cooperation and subsequently courtesy was necessary to attain their goals. 'Hey boss, see, we have this union here and we want fair wages. Well, except for Timmy who doesn't think that milking cows is real work and Bob over there who doesn't think I keep the barns tidy enough. But the rest of us... except for Martha's boy who's happy enough throwing bales at 10, we want some money and a break every so often.' Wouldn't have gone over well at all, would it? Is the individual turning out to be such a great thing after all? Or must we sacrifice respect for personal achievement?

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