Lately, having an internet connection and a rudimentary understanding of economics has given me a window to a slow moving train wreck that I just knew was coming. Like my husband’s cousin noted, this is probably worse than 9-11 but because its taking so long to happen it does not feel so bad. We all know life has changed.
In the way that you slow down and stare at bad car accidents, watching the news the last few months has that same kind of voyeuristic horror. I have had to just stop myself, and remind myself that I come from folks who have survived wars, pogroms, tuberculosis, near starvation. This is not as bad as it can get. The fact that I have a decent roof over my head and a stocked refrigerator means I got nuthin to worry about, though worry and stew I do, like a dog with a bone.
Life is hard. Whether you are a salmon swimming upstream to spawn and die, a tree trying to grow on a rock, or a parent in the 21st century trying to juggle the demands of competing bureaucracies, living is a struggle. Which makes sense,now that we know that everything really IS related to everything, on a microscopic level, getting energy, replicating, existing and dying are never easy. Advertising and some musicals try to tell us there is an Easy Street, but I am not sure they exist where I am at. So you put your head down and your shoulder to the grindstone.
I have always known how to cut back and make do. Most of my clothes are used. I don’t pay retail and I know how to do without. I keep cars a decade and drive in a fuel efficient manner common with grandmas. This annoys the heck out of the guy behind me who will need a break job every three weeks the way he drives!
I know how to sew, cook, and don’t mind meals of noodles or potatoes. Our camping vacations won’t help the economy much, but they are fine by me. I do get tired of repeating to my children “no, we can’t afford that” like a broken record, but I was doing it before it was fashionable.
There is a lot to be said for the new frugality. I talked my kids into seeing how long we could go without heat. My husband is complaining but we made it through a few freezing nights without turning it on. It’ll be November 1 in a few days and we find that if we keep the doors closed, the house will stay about 59 degrees. We bundled on blankies and wear hats to bed and we are toasty. It’s become a badge of honor to tough it out. I know my family can pull together and get it done. And we put off getting that bill we can’t pay for a while just a little longer.
And in the end, the tough immigrant stock that this nation is made up of, well, we will pull together and get it done. We will work our way out of this cesspool of an economic debacle. We will fix the damn schools with NO help from the government, because its our KIDS for god’s sake. The housing market will tank for a while because we don’t have the salaries to support the inflated prices, but we will move over and make room for our foreclosed family and friends. We will work more soup kitchens this winter and donate more food to the food bank. We will work our tails off to pay off the 700 billion dollar debt that our esteemed leadership got us into, and so will our kids. We will do with less and hope for more. We will conserve energy because the stuff costs too much in dollars and economic destruction. When your ancestors traversed a bombed out Europe, or crawled out of the concentration camps, you know how to keep going and make a better world for your children.
So get out there and vote, because We are the Change that needs to happen.