Sat. Jul 20th, 2024


by Ana Grarian

What does it mean to have everything readily available and not have to plan ahead? This thought came to me while listening to Gary Snyder talk about his poem Hay for the Horses. Gary had a summer job stacking hay bales for use over the winter. Planning ahead so that in the depth of winter snow there would be hay, for the horses, where it was needed.

Today we don’t have to plan ahead much. I can buy a last minute birthday present at Walmart. If I forgot to do the laundry I can pick up a last minute outfit to wear to the party. If I didn’t plan ahead for dinner I can buy it as take out on the way home, or have it delivered. If I want guacamole at midnight in January in Upstate NY, I can find an avacado in a 24 hour grocery, or buy it pre-made. Heck I can even purchase a term paper on-line.

Wallace Stegner said that we Americans divide into two groups, boomers and stickers. The boomers are always thinking that something is better somewhere else, that whatever they have or whatever they are is no good.

What does it mean to have everything readily available and not have to plan ahead?

Doesn’t it mean that I can take everything for granted? If it’s not available here they’ll have it there. I can just move, change suppliers, pay a little more, make or break a contract.

I don’t have to worry about people to work in my plant. There’s always another third world country to exploit. I don’t care about the soil. I can always add more fertilizer. I can buy my way out of any situation. I don’t need my neighbors. I can buy help or simply buy off my neighbors.

There will always be more clean water somewhere.

Until there isn’t.

By AFarmer

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RS Janes
14 years ago

Perhaps this is gradually changing, Ana. I just read about a 24-year-old woman, a college graduate who was making $50K, out of work and out of luck and now she’s renting a trailer. The only job she’s managed to find is as an intern for $150 a month. Here’s her story and it’s worth a read:

I’m One of America’s New Homeless

Brianna Karp lost her job, is broke and is now living in a trailer – but she’s not beaten yet

by Brianna Karp as told to Claire Prentice

I always thought homelessness was something that happened to other people. I was 24, educated, had a $50,000-a-year job as a personal assistant, a cute cottage in Orange County, California, friends and a dog. And then, one day in December last year, I went into work to discover my company was laying off lots of staff and I was one. It was the start of a string of bad luck.

Read the rest here.

Brianna’s tale of woe is one I’ve found repeated in many of the young people I meet. While they might not be homeless, many live with their parents and can’t find a job, even low-paid entry level work. The job market is much worse than the official govt reports would have us believe, IMO — and the jobs are just not out there, no matter what your age, education or experience.

I think the generation that came of age in the ’90s is the last of the selfish, self-centered ‘I-want-it-all-now’ Yuppies (thank god) — the current crop of 20-somethings are facing a grim new world and I hope they have the brains, courage and knowledge to try and change it for the better.

BTW, the downside is that such billionaire predators as T. Boone Pickens and his greedy corporate ilk are buying up water rights just as fast as they can, and they aren’t doing it so that they can then give them away to the public.

RS Janes
14 years ago

I’m reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickle and Dimed” (Here’s a summary, in case you haven’t had a chance to read it), which was published in 2001. Things were desperate for low-paid workers back in those pre-Bush years — they’ve only gotten worse since. But it is heartening to meet a ‘recovering Republican’ now and then, such as a guy I talked to a couple of weeks ago — his eyes were stripped open by his losing his very well-paying job last spring and realizing, at his age (mid-50s) and high level of experience, employers aren’t lining up to hire him, no matter how successful he was at his last job and what a great resume he has.

He managed to save some money, but with a family to support and his unemployment running out, he’s facing some tough decisions in the future — like whether to try and keep his house and car. To paraphrase what he said regarding his years supporting the ‘free market, small govt GOP’ and all of their demented notions about poverty and helping poor people, he ruefully shook his head, “How could I have been such an blind a-hole all that time?”

Even if he gets a good job now, he says he’s never going back to that kind of ‘stinkin’ thinkin’.’ if the govt wants to use his taxes to bail out people lower on the economic scale, that’s fine with him — he just resents, as do we all, welfare for the rich and paying for useless wars.

14 years ago

haft the apts and houses are vacant where i am, and u cant find an apt for affordible rent. the y near me is always busy with homeless or trailer livers cleaning up and showering. most every 1 that i know are to broke to move so we hang on to what we have, even if its bad. were are the jobs from obama?

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