I've long been obsessed with what it would have been like to be a Saxon in post-Roman Britain. Roman concrete was so good that for hundreds of years Saxons inhabited Roman buildings. But their architectural wherewithal was primitive compared to the Romans, so as the roofs collapsed on the Roman buildings they would replace them with leaky timber and thatch jobs. What must that have been like, to live and die in hundreds of years old ruins that are still better than anything you can build?
I think with many things like this the change must be so gradual that nobody ever gets alarmed by it. Every moment in the progressing crappiness just seems like the way things statically are.
LSU is about six years into budget cutting that resulted from unsustainable tax cuts for the wealthy. Part of the result of this is that we have an atrocious backlog for building repair and rennovation. The money amounts are well into the tens of millions of dollars, so bad that it's hard for the administrators to triage. Just this year a six hundred pound chunk of ceiling fell in the dilapidated art studio. It might have killed a student, yet we still don't have the money to fix the building. Cracks in the stucco in my building have caused extensive water damage. Every year or so they cosmetically fix the bubbling over paint on the inside of my office wall, but haven't yet fixed the exterior of the building. The toilets are also slowly dying. About half of them don't flush appropriately, and only work if you hold the handle down for a long time, which of course many people don't do. As a result, by the end of the day most of the bathrooms have raw sewage in the toilets. It smells nauseating, sometimes out in the hallway.
Maybe it's just nostalgia from my youth in the 70s, but I think that public infrastructure has gotten increasingly crappy during the course of my life. When I was a kid we didn't have days long power outages every year from inclement weather. I remember airports as feeling almost like church or art museums, quiet, reverential in a strange way, and clean. It's interesting to think how far down this slope we might slide as we become increasingly a nation of private opulence for a very few and public squalor for everyone else. But maybe nobody will notice much.