Sunday, April 05, 2009
In the months since I last posted (months, I tell ya, months) the American financial system has undergone the equivalent of a heart transplant. I happen to live in the place where its undergone surgery. In other words, I live in the rotten heart -- New York City. It's been a strange few months, to say the least. On the one hand, 2009 started out with this kind-of glorious optimism: the end of 8 years of unimaginable Bush era malaise, mendacity and mediocrity and the beginning of the Obama years. His inaguration day seemed like something out of a fiction, a mixture of extreme promise and hopefulness and sheer relief: it felt like the war had ended and all that was missing was a ticker-tape parade and a sailor kissing a girl on a corner.
Well, the fiction has ended now and the reality has set in and we have to trudge, slog, or as Churchill said, "muddle through" what everyone is calling "the new hard times". I am part of a generation that is not the "muddle through" kind. Again, I know I speak to a particular class and, to an extent, race. Most of my friends were not born in extreme poverty, the kind that has to muddle through no matter what returns their parents are getting on their 401k's because their parents never had them to begin with.
I am fortunate enough to have a day job right now which I am grateful for while at the same time resenting which is an odd juxtaposition. I have an ego and ambition, I imagine for myself a fully creative life one day that is not subject to performing administrative duties for others, for pay. But, all around me I have friends who are unemployed, getting laid off, borrowing money from parents and now they are forced to wait. All the while, we tell ourselves and each other that this is only temporary, because deep down despite our cultivated disaffectation, we feverishly believe or hope that the American Dream, as it were, is just laying dormant right now, and that, we too, will be rewarded for working hard, if and when the chance to do so comes back.