Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Economic Downturns

A summary of how the slow economic collapse of the united states is affecting me and people around me, from the trivial and absurd to the profound and tragic:

Newly Homeless
Last Thursday, bought a homeless guy breakfast. It was a lot more money than I intended to spend (ten bucks!) but I figured it's karmically worth it. He's old, recently suffered a stroke (needs a walker to get around), and down on his luck. I realize he's also a former member of the middle class when he asks me to put the food I bring him into his car. Which car is it? I ask. He hands me his keys and points to the Volvo. I shake off the mild indignation I feel once I open the door and see he's been living in it for who knows how long.

Back to the Ghetto
Friend IM's me Friday asking if I still have that extra bike I'd lent him a few years back. It was a Cannondale mountain bike way past it's prime, a hand-me-down at that, and I'd given it away on Freecycle at least a year and a half ago. Well, mi amigo needs it now as he's moving to the flats with his girlfriend and has always had bad luck w/ cars. I apologize and tell him the Cannondale is no longer in my possession. He changes the subject and jokes how people are teasing him for moving into the flats as they're supposedly the "ghetto" of SC, but people here don't know what ghetto is (he's from Fresno). Anyone got an extra bike for a tall Mexicano?

No more rock n' roll
Coworker and I love the band MGMT. MGMT are playing the Santa Cruz Civic this weekend. Coworker and I can't afford the $30 + "convenience fee" tickets. Coworker and I used to go to concerts all the time back in the day. But now, we's broke. No more eating out. No more weekends at the movie theatre. College student friend has the audacity to ask me if I've gone to any good shows lately. Fuck you dude.

Laid off
Coworker, married with children, husband got laid off last week. She fights back tears while relating the story. She's a strong, positive person, but things are really stressful right now. Keeps saying "everything is gonna be alright" over and over, like a prayer and I think that's exactly what it is. She talks about how her family was ready to move in with another close friend but even that's not working out - all relationships are strained. The rose colored 3D glasses don't seem to be working anymore, cuz' everything is looking pretty bad.

Stocks take a dumpster dive
This morning, coworker mentions google and apple stocks are down. "You own a share in google?!" I say, he says no, he's a poor bastard. But a friend of his does. I say it's all good, cuz' you're in good company with the rest of us poor bastards. He replies yeh, but it's crowded here at the bottom. I respond with, "yeah, and getting more crowded every year."

Post-May Day Community Forum
I find myself attending one of these meetings sponsored by the Hub. It's held in a circle and in true touchy-feely Non-Violent Communication fashion, every person gets to talk about their feelings about the spike in violence in Santa Cruz, including the gang killings and the May Day riots. The May Day riots get the most attention - one dude says he can't possibly understand what would bring someone to break the windows of a jewelry store or any of the corporate chains that got hit and i think, uh-huh, what planet is this guy living on?

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