song du jour: Let's Fall in Love, Diana Krall

mood: do you really want to know?

Gee, Thanks 'W.' The Temperature Inside My House is 60 F
(If only it were as cold in here as it is in my fridge right now...)

One isn't likely to grow up in the South, born of pre-boomer, middle class, parents, who were the first in their families to graduate college, and not be raised amidst rampant conservativism. It occurred to me after a recent exchange about Buckleyian Conservatism (which apparentlywarrantss a capital 'C' for some reason) with Matthew, that this is a bit of my past I've so long taken for granted, I've never really discussed it. My parents missed or just couldn't be bothered with being hippies, and so, of course, those people, who dressed so much cooler (The 70's was my mother's 'beige period.'), and who seemed to be passionately upset about really important stuff got my attention as opposed to my father, who was always onlywrappedd up in himself, or my mother who was consumed with work and, well, raising me.

One thing a conservative raised daughter turned democrat turned way bigger picture than most people ever bother looking at learns is that the buck might or might not stop here, but it certainly starts here. I have a sense of self responsibility so strong that it borders on neurotic. I can be justifiably angry at the injustice I see and experience, and I'll rail about it where appropriate, but in the end, even that is probably because I feel like it's my responsibility, and so, as I sit here freezing in my house that feels colder than outside (current Atlanta temp 58 F), it might sound contradictory to say I blame the President, but I do. Why? Because everyone else does. (Huh?) Seriously.

In this country, where spin and opinion are everything, the economy is not driven by the worth of the $ or the price of oil or precious metals. It's not driven by holidays. It's not even driven by government really. It's driven by fear. Fear of lack. Fear of things falling apart. Fear of diseases, natural disasters, and, most scary, the unknowable future. Oh, all those previously listed reasons play their part, but our ability to handle them is more effect than cause. Trust me. I know. So does anyone else, who is self employed and in the business of non necessity products. There are plenty of women, who will argue jewelry is not a non-necessity, but you know what I mean, luxury items that are retailed. Unfortunately, no matter how much intent and state of consciousness might go into a work of art, the actual selling and collecting of artifacts is intimately tied to retail trends. In this studio, it doesn't take long at all to feel the trickle down economics run dry.

You see, I used to get into heated debates about what's wrong with America with my Egyptian friends (nothing like being the liberal, who has to play defend the empire, sheesh!), and be they taxi driver or a close friend's father, who was head of the national bank (that the equivalent of Alan Greenspan's position over here), the understanding of American politics is based on the idea that the president has the same power here as your average Middle Eastern president (read elected dictator for life) or European prime minister. I would try to explain that our government didn't really work that way, but in the end out of frustration, I'd say, "I'll be sure to convey your sentiments to Bill next time we have tea." Nowadays, they're closer to the truth thanks to a little governmental department, known as Homeland Security, but how I know about that is another story.

So why do I blame the president? Like I said, because most everyone else does, which is NOT to say that I agree it's always accurate to do so, but because I'm witnessing others' behavior. Before I sound as though I'm experiencing a momentary unheard of conventional moment, I'll explain. Much as it pains me to say this, the complaints of all the gallery owners I know is not actually 'W's' direct fault. Ok, he picked the SS...uh, um, I mean the appointees that have more direct influence over us all. Do I give him credit when things are better? (That's a hypothetical question.) No. I didn't even give Clinton all that much credit when the economy was good, and I liked him. - Ah, for the days when all we worried about was an illicit blow job...Only in America could there be equal amounts of outrage at one lied about orgasm and the mass torture of Abu Gharib and Guatanamo prisoners. My general feeling is if your biggest problem is an orgasm, things just can't be all that bad. - The President carries the burden simply because how people feel about the future of the economy is directly related to whether they approve or disapprove of ouchiefif. When people are confident about the future, they spend money, and when people are scared about the future, they hold onto their money. Our collective fear is directed to the top of the pyramid.
Fear = save/don't spend + wait and see. Plain as that.

Now, having lived thru the summer retail lull (a generous word for this year's slump), and having made relative peace with my 6 month stint of NOT using a single credit card being firmly behind me, I sit here in the cold, wearing the fleece jacket my mother bought me when she decided polar fleece was the greatest thing since toasters (the one I never wear because it makes me feel like a fuzzy, shapeless, purple blob) because the one rate plan on my gas bill renews next month, and if I turn my heat on, I'm screwed for a year. Of course, I will be anyway, given the predicted HUGE rate increases on natural gas, but for she for whom the buck starts here, there is an illusion of at least a tiny amount of control.

Ok, so it isn't entirely 'W's' fault that my leaky gas line to the furnace had to be replaced, or that the central air cleaner's shot insides is why I've had mildew from hell (at least something was still undewarrantyee!), or that the gas leak in my house turned out to include most of the T and Y connectors in the gas pipes under my house, requiring that I have ALL THE GAS PIPES REPLACED last Tuesday (quick, where's a credit card with space?!?), or that after spending next month's mortgage payment money to pay this month's bills last night I went in for some ice cream therapy (which I was going to down with my feet on the hot water bottle) and discovered that the bottom of line, cheap FRIDGE a previous (TIGHT WAD) co-owner picked out a mere 5 years ago HAD SUNG IT'S LAST SWAN SONG, and I can't believe how fast Sears gave me a new credit card!

-Wow, my high school English teachers were wrong. You can make entire paragraphs out of single sentences. -

No, sometimes, junk dies, but just remember, the gift giving season is coming, and if you were thinking of trickling on over this way, you might find something just about to go on sale, if you ask nice. ;-) Hey, I've been out doing my part to drive the economy, fearing cold, salmonella, and he who will have to go without chocolate milk on demand until the new fridge comes next Tuesday (along with the VERY badly needed new dishwasher to replace the one that timidly spits on my dirty dishes. Gee, hey,what's spending 4k you don't have when you've already spent 3k?), because they are even scarier than the thought of a less than lucrative Xmas season, especially that last one. So, if you're not busy, we're free for dinner (and lunch and breakfast) for the next few days. I promise not to talk politics. ;-)

And in the meantime

Courtesy of Jean

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