Some days the economy just hits you harder than you expect. As a writer, it’s good to try and stay open to the stories going on all around you. I mentioned in an earlier blog post that this all feels somewhat surreal. I mean, if we’re really in a depression like the 30’s, or almost there, shouldn’t we be wearing old clothes and driving old cars and look like people in the 20’s looked?Â And maybe be done all in sepia tones?
I met a woman at Starbucks today. I stopped to pet herÂ squirmy brownÂ and white lap dog, and asked her how her day was. This was a well-dressed, woman in her late thirties or early forties with wide blue eyes and a soft smile, natural multi-colored blond hair up in plastic clip. She was neither heavy nor gaunt, and I’d have described her as a likely soccer mom. She said, “I’ve been laid off for more than a year, and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
What does it take to make a someone tell a total stranger such a thing in response to a passing pat on the dogs head? We talked for awhile (she’s done HR and product placement marketing, but she has no degree and HR has become a degree-hungry field). When we left I said, “At least you have the dog,” and she smiled and said yes, but there was a catch in her voice and her eyes shone.
After Starbucks, IÂ heard from a woman taking a 10% involuntary pay cut. Her husband has already been laid off. She felt angry.
Later, we went out for dinner, and at a popular restaurant, on a clear Saturday night, there was easy seating. Last year, it would have taken us an hour to get in.
I want to feel this, notice the details, in case I ever write about a time like this.Â Â Â But that doesn’t make it easy.Â (Note to Universe – this is NOT a request to feel it any more personally than we already do; I appreciate the luck we’ve had so far).