Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Everybody's Got What's Going Around

A couple of weeks ago I went shopping, went to Sam's and Penn Dutch and Walmart. Places where people go to be careful with their money.

For quite a while, I've known the economy was tanking. Surely this ought to be second nature to me; it was the environment of my profession, back when I worked, and the signs are always very clear to us. Otherwise we could not have done our jobs.

Lots of people, though, stay in denial about it while it's ramping up. Politicians make good use of this. People like me, the true contrarians, get labeled as doomsayers and treated like party poopers. And unpatriotic to boot! heh!

So I tend to keep these thoughts to myself.

But that doesn't mean I'm not aware of what's happening to people's lives. I believe I understand as well as anyone else could. When you make a living seizing commercial buildings and other assets, collateral for business loans and big commercial mortgages and even the occasional house, you get very up-close and personal experience with the terrible damage economic disasters cause human beings.

There's a cycle to it. It's always the same in some ways, always different in some ways. One thing that tends to repeat? That sense of tipping over, of an avalanche, when the burden of knowledge of the damage is finally accepted by the general population.

You can feel it, if you watch and wait. You can sense it. The air vibrates with the change.

People suddenly become scared, and suddenly admit it. Denial time is over.

That's what I felt in the air when I went out shopping, a couple of weeks back.

People are being very brave, too, this time. It doesn't always happen that way. There are a lot of stiff upper lips, of holding shoulders high, of saying *I know that job will come; it'll just take a little longer this time.* Or, *It's surprising how these things can actually work out for the best, sometimes.* Or, *It's not much of one but at least I have a job for now.* Folks are telling their kids, *This Christmas all you get is one video game.* And it seems most parents and most kids are being brave about that, too.

That's a good thing, there, that bravery under fire. I hope this positive attitude holds true. But it may not last, because the depth of this disaster is astounding. It's not nearly over. In fact, it's only just begun.

Most of you know there are times when I don't post much, when I'm too sick or too involved in dealing with my life's issues or without a computer. This time I also didn't go around reading my fellow blogger's posts.

I miss you all when that happens.

Going around trying to catch up a little, I have to say that the downside of this economic disaster seems to be hitting everyone in our little corner of the 'sphere, too. Lost jobs everywhere, and no new ones to hire up. Homes in foreclosure. Checks bouncing, cars getting repossessed. Medical problems heightened. Yes, of course our health gets worse when the economy does a major tank like this. Much worse.

Me, I'll keep on acting a bit childish, whining and complaining here and there, and indulging in fun animal pix and pretty flower pix and general silliness other times. I have to say, it may look a little schizoid here and there. Some really awful things are going on in my life, and I'll combat the downside any way I can. If acting crazy does it, hey, that's cool by me.

I'm here. If anyone wants to email me and complain about all the bad stuff happening to them, I'll answer you. There's a good *crying shoulder* on this battered up body, and besides, it's only fair.

We're all in this together. We WILL make it through to the other side. I really do know what I'm talking about, and I promise you that. We'll come through, and see that wonderful rebirth when the economy starts to turn, and people go back to work and stuff gets made and people earn money and buy things, all that.

It's like spring coming after winter. A bad winter never seems to end...until it does, and spring comes, and the sun melts the ice and the flowers burst forth and the animals come out to play and raise new families and suddenly you don't need a coat any more.

See? That's how I know we'll make it through.

We always do.


Jean said...

A major frustration was having to listen to the politicians say 'We're ok. Economy is fine.' Bull!
Working in banking must be similar to working in manufacturing in that, the signs of change in the economy are in your face.

We've been sliding downhill for two or three years. Or longer. This year, the slide got faster and went deeper. And, the bottom is yet to be slammed into.

Once we get to the bottom, though, there is only one choice. Get up.

I've done some of what I can to prepare. Probably never enough, but some is better than being blindsided. Denial gets nothing good.

My main worry now is that what I wanted to start, in the way of a business (and had already begun the first steps) will make things difficult with unemployment.
Going to talk to an accountant and the people at S.C.O.R.E.
Hope for some enlightenment from them. I will not give up on my dream.

Wishing you and Walter a very Merry Christmas, k.
and, many many more!

Desert Cat said...

I would be the contrarian's contrarian if I said I think any "recovery" we see in the next two to three years will be a "dead cat bounce". But that's what I think.

(Funny, I always used to think of myself as an optimist.)

The entire world banking system is held together with bailing wire, duct tape and spitballs at the moment. If they manage to keep from imploding that long it'll be a minor miracle, but another major shock and the whole shebang will implode faster than a collapsing World Trade Tower.

So my advice is that any economic breathing room we get in the near term should be used to further retrench in for worse to come. And by worse I mean, think Great Depression and then subtract the basic civility and respect for the rule of law people still had back then.


Some might call it denial or "schizoid" but I think you have the right idea. When there's not a dang thing more you can do about what is happening, the best you can do is focus on what is still good and beautiful. I'm likely to look just as dissociated to someone perusing my archives.

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Love you. Merry Christmas to you both!

Jan said...

Merry Christmas to you, and Walter, K!

I'm hoping that the coming year will be better for everyone.

Pretty Lady said...

Glad you're posting! Merry Christmas!

You are correct, we are officially in desperate times. I just pulled the Official Desperation Maneuver of depositing a check from my credit card into my bank account in order to pay January's bills. I am grateful that my credit rating is still impeccable, and crossing my fingers that Joe gets a job at least by the time the interest rate skyrockets in October.

However, I had a Baby Shower in Texas, and will be having another one in NYC, and so my baby will be all warm and adorable and snuggled up in handmade blankets when she arrives. If she's born into a rotten economy, so much the better--no stupid competition for high-fashion baby accessories.

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Hope 2009 brings happier things into your life~ let 2008 go wherever the old years go!

John P. McCann said...

Happy New Year to you and Walter.

Hard Times are never so hard as long as you have friends.

Granny J said...

Dear k, may I add one more late Merry Christmas just past, New Year ahead, and may you and Walter enjoy the ice melting and the flowers blooming as soon as soon is possible.

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