Friday, November 11, 2011

Sitting On The Porch

When Fred shows up for work and we're pulling our headsets from our lockers and I ask the standard question his reply comes pat: "Living the dream, man, living the dream," and he grins as we settle into our twenty four hour chairs for another night of keeping the city safe in police dispatch.

I hear lots of crap about how the unemployed are to blame for their situation but as we sink deeper into the mire of debt and self destruction some small slivers of awareness seem to be shining through the cracks of the story we are being fed day after business day of imminent redemption if we "just work hard." I've worked all my life and with my wife of eighteen years we lived a plan and saved and organized defined benefit pensions and all that stuff. Pensions dependent on eight percent growth across the First World.

Pensions? Investments? Retirement? Huh? It all looks to be further away and less achievable than any generation since World War Two. Yet we are told that the economy is improving but the numbers looked at without a tint of politically induced hope explain the lie. I know where to place the blame just as I know the history that led us here, but that's not the point. The point is: here we are and whatever comes next in our First World Fourth Turning I am as powerless to influence events as ever I was. I can hope for the best and expect the worst as only humans know how.

Yet by a series of curious chances like the Lord High Executioner in The Mikado here I find myself and if it's not Paradise, an impossible concept for an atheist, it's close enough. And, call it fortune or planning, we have our jobs even with reduced pay as millions don't and may never again, and we have friends and I have the time to sit on the porch and enjoy the view, with my dog and with nothing to do and nowhere to be. After a life spent chasing my tail, "running away" in the words of my disgusted family decades ago, my own contentment at sitting still comes at a time when the rest of the planet has made the same decision for me. Sitting still as we wait for Fate or our Leaders to press the economic re-set button is nerve wracking especially as history tells us what comes next is likely to be awful for at least a while.

Yet whatever comes next, hyper-inflation, endless deflation, War, Plague or catastrophic climate change and peak oil or even endless hordes of frogs and locusts I know there will be moments of serenity in the chaos and I hope I will have the awareness to steal a glance and take a breath and watch the setting sun illuminate the leaves under a cloudless blue sky. Winter everywhere should be this serene and fresh and vital.

Unlike my vociferous and angry middle class fellow citizens I was not raised to take joy at my good fortune at the expense of my less fortunate, less able, less aware, less well read, less intelligent neighbors. The concept of noblesse oblige has been lost in the rush to securitize and swap and refinance and sell and defraud. I wake up and look out the window and see the sun and the green leaves and the sky and listen to my dog snore and it's another day "living the dream," and not so much in jest.

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