Most of the time things are all right. Sometimes we are aware that they are getting worse. Nobody really thinks higher education as a profession is getting better, for example. More and more is being squeezed out of ever fewer resources. There are more students per staff, there is a greater struggle for rooms, there is less time for academics to teach, research and administer as well as to undertake the ever newer forms of outreach they are pressurised to do to show their institution is part of the community. The young are particularly under pressure because new junior appointments are given most of the extra work. If a well-respected, much-published professor is earning you research money by publishing, you keep him/her publishing so he or she becomes ever more occupied with his/her research. Younger staff are desperate to do research but, unless they are extraordinary or very lucky, they have to keep their noses to the grindstone until they have no noses. Many are anxious, depressed and exhausted.
Few are free of anxiety. But then something else sits down beside you, or, in the case of the floods, on top of you. It may be a very rare event (there may be more such rare events in the future) but it is your own special rare event if you're in it. It rains and rains and rains, the water rises ever further. This is not one of those times when things are more or less all right. Nor are they slowly eating away at you or grinding away your nose. Your nose is in the water.
Few of us would not feel deep sympathy for those whose houses and businesses are now under water. Those of us who live in another part of the country don't think it couldn't happen to us, that nothing could happen because most of the time things are all right. We all know that the law of things happening permits of anything happening at any time.
Granted the history of our families both Clarissa and I know that we are more than fortunate, that this is, as things go, the Golden Age the ancients wrote about. That every age is both its own Golden Age and its Disaster Zone. In the meantime, things here are all right.