Tuesday, September 15, 2009

News Flash! The Recession is Over!

I get all my news from only the most trusted sources, so it must be true. After all, the Federal Reserve Chairman said it himself, and who would know better than he? I, for one, am greatly relieved to hear this. Whew, that was a close one, wasn’t it?

For those of you still struggling with the whole jobless situation, or the lack of money thing, or even, for lack of a better word, poverty, impending or present, I’m certain this comes as a great relief. You may now begin breathing again.

Breathe in, breathe out . . . don’t you feel all better now?

Me either. I mean, sure, it’s nice to hear that we expect things not to get a whole lot worse, and especially for those who haven’t yet lost things, like their livelihood, their houses, their cars, their self-esteem, their savings, etc., but for those who have, the question of the day is: when do I get those things BACK?

Oh, and get this: it’s going to be a slow recovery, which means that many people won’t even notice. At least that’s my take on it. Granted, I’m not an economist and don’t even play one on TV. I’m just an accountant who has lost everything she owned not once, not twice, but THREE times. Of course, by the third time there wasn’t that much left to lose. Honestly, there wasn’t that much by the second time. This was actually quite lucky for me, because by the time this crash came around I had nothing to lose. Okay, I had a bit, but not so much that I had to watch everything I worked for all my short yet stunningly dramatic life slide away into nothingness. I already did that.

I lie. My life has not been short, though if it were to end now, it would be.

Each time I’ve lost everything and attempted the struggle back up through the Pit of Despair and the Slough of Despondency I did not, despite popular wisdom (I picture Wisdom in high school, perhaps she’s a cheerleader, which would account for the popularity) become stronger and learn valuable life lessons. I did not thank anyone for allowing me to feel the depths of utter misery and then emerge, Phoenix-like, rich and successful and brand new, a changed person.

Still the same person. Still struggling with my own personal demons. (I call them Larry and George. Persnickety fellows too.) Still waiting to be discovered by New York (though in what capacity, I can’t say, but I think I’d make a good street urchin, if it weren’t for the age thing.) Still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, which doesn’t seem to be coming at me any faster now than it was years ago.

Still proceeding onward.

Have I told you about my car? It’s an older car, bought in haste when my former car, which wasn’t that old, died an undignified death and blew up but not, unfortunately, with a pretty explosion. The transmission died, and since I couldn’t afford to fix it, I bought another car. This seemed a wise move at the time, though it may defy logic now. The new yet older car was cheap, and I got terms on it, thanks to Stew, who’d already purchased a car from the dealer. (What does it say for my credit rating when a mentally ill unemployed guy has to be my co-signer before I can get a car?)

The new older car died three weeks later, the engine having destroyed itself in a fit of pique. Meanwhile, the other car was being repossessed. I was beside myself. Not about the repossessed car – the thing didn’t run, and there wasn’t much I could do about it at the time. I was the Car Murderer, and even though this is not a crime punishable by jail time, I still felt bad. And poor.

Stew’s parents, my ex-in-laws, loaned me the money to get the engine replaced. Engine, transmission, all new. I never paid them back, though I was supposed to. I was supposed to do a lot of things I didn’t do. I’m still waiting for my ship to come in so I can, but I think pirates got it.

My car runs well. It certainly should. But it looks like . . . well, the paint has sun damage, so it looks like a wreck. Big blotches of sun damage all over it, faded light areas, or whatever it is, and in parts the rust is trying to break through. It’s a 95 Thunderbird, and I love my car, but it looks like crap. I’m certain that when I’m seen driving that car people think, “What’s up with the ugly car?”

It’s turning ugly, and the air conditioner and fan need to be fixed (I’ll worry about that next summer, when it starts to get hot again). My credibility among the business community may be compromised, should I be seen parking this thing next to any of the newer shiny vehicles I see everywhere. (Look, it’s not as if it has cooties.) But I don’t owe anything on it (except for the 5 grand to my ex-in-laws, but they haven’t asked for it lately), and it’s going to last me forever, so I’ll keep driving it. It’s useful. It works for me. It’s not the best car, but I don’t need the best car. I just need one that runs and gets me from Point A to Point B, and it usually does. Except for that time several months ago when a belt broke and it had to be towed, but other than that, it works. It’s not the shiniest, prettiest car, but it does its job, and no one can take it away from me.

(Except the ex-in-laws, who could, theoretically, repossess it, but I don’t think they want it.)

I’d like to tie this up neatly with a message, but I’m not in a philosophical mood at the moment. In fact, I feel like going for a drive in my crappy car. It’s a sunny day, but not too hot, and I could use the air.

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