30 July 2008

Darkness falls

A sense of foreboding befalls me as time progresses and the period between my personal crises grows longer. It feels as if I am overdue to face another total collapse.

The late natural disaster events precipitated the most recent of my crises - house washed away, job evaporated, dead and missing acquaintances, relatives (unharmed by the storm) who were too busy looking out for themselves to help a blood relation in temporary need. But that's my family - you can't expect them to disrupt their trailer park routine of soap opera watching and Cheetos munching for anything else in the world.

I figure if my job ever disappeared tomorrow, or if I was separated from it suddenly - not particularly likely, but something which I never exclude from the realm of possibility - the only work out there would be frying chicken fingers at Raising Cane's or something similar. As far as I know, they are still hiring, but nobody else is, particularly for jobs which pay at least a living wage. After all, businesses are closing and filing for bankruptcy left and right, and millions of unemployed service sector hordes are pounding the pavement right now, most of them far more qualified and skilled than myself to perform any sort of work.

The bad feeling I have about the future in my bones is not entirely related to the continuous stream of negative economic news which flows from the media on a daily basis now - the bad tidings certainly influence things, but they are not the primary reason for my lack of confidence in a better tomorrow.

Rather, it is a lack of confidence in myself, to deliver the goods and output the ability which would allow me to feed and shelter myself, and otherwise permit a modicum of comfort and security (tenuous as that may be) in my life. This has been a constant regardless of the state of the economy, though the current depression certainly gives me more than the usual pause. If everything collapsed for me tomorrow, where would I go? What scant opportunities would dare to present themselves? 

I have been broke and starving at various past points in my life. I would not like to relive those experiences. When I was younger it was enough to say to myself, "Well, this is what young folks have to struggle through sometimes to gain a foothold in the society, especially if they come from the margins." But now that I am older and less appealing to employers, what will that kind of ordeal gain me? A State-sponsored trip to the bus station and a sheriff's deputy ordering me to leave town within 24 hours, lest I face arrest and imprisonment for whatever charges they decide to trump up.

Do not believe for a second that it could never happen to you. When there has been work before, I have never failed to ante up the effort to make a living for myself, even if the only work was that which you could only find at the day labor agency. I have paid taxes all my life, and have never once received a handout or subsidy from any welfare agency, public or private. I am certain that this is probably the case for you (I hope). Yet when the time comes, the idle rabble will be the first to eat from the tray, and the productive will be left to fight over the garbage scraps.

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