About Me

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I am a 60 something Californian, former world traveler of the back packing variety, a Buddhist, a writer, photographer, and teacher.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

First thoughts

Strange, now that i am faced with writing my thoughts so publicly for the first time, I find myself almost too shy to say anything. Commentators surge all around, these days, dissecting every development, on radio, flipping news and their opinions of it like linguistic flapjacks, energized with their wit and all the music breaks on public radio. Entertaining almost to hear the details of the end of civilization as i have known it laid out and dissected in such high spirited detail. An oboe plays in the background when the stock market descends. Dixieland plays when it rises. Millions are losing housing and jobs, politicians look out into TV camera lenses with a stunned expression, clearly having no idea how to stop the slide. Terrified of what is coming and more terrified to articulate it openly, for fear of bringing it to pass all that more quickly. The world is so vastly interconnected now, so immense, so complex. It is all happening so rapidly, with startling new developments no one had thought of coming by the hour. I think no one understands it all anymore, if any ever did. The enormity of all of us is now far beyond the imagination of any of us. And so we focus on the minutiae, the bond salesman who lost $50 billion of his investors money. The three big car companies in free fall. Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac and their cities of lost dreams. It all seemed far away at first. Though i knew the consequences must be coming. Like distant undersea earthquakes that one knows must generate tsunamis.

And so they have, shuddering through businesses all across the country and now beginning to touch the lives of those all around me. My landlord, a real estate developer, lost his job and my rent was raised $250 a month. Two leeks i bought at the store today, thinking to make my own soup, cost $1.99. Still working 30 hours weekly as a teacher, i am finding groceries ever harder to pay for - what of those who have already lost their jobs? The two California schools i work for now face huge deficits, with a state government in disarray in the face of a budget that will run out, apparently, months before more taxes come in. School administrators whisper to secretaries of terrible damaging changes that may be coming. Secretaries confide in teachers. Whole sections of education may be eliminated, perhaps hundreds of jobs to be lost locally. Impossible situations developing everywhere. Local projects are grinding to a halt. A local pool and many museums may close. Two favorite bookstores may close. Neighbors all around speak in hushed conversations when they meet, of spending less, holding on to what they have, of this person or that person who is being evicted. Where will they go all these evictees?

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