Thursday, September 25, 2008


I thought this pay phone, with its "destroy" and "rebuild" stickers, was a good metaphor for our dire economic time. The market surges, it crashes, it surges again; stocks go up and down; the tide comes in and it goes out. Destroy and rebuild indeed.

I haven't been too nervous about the markets and their fluctuations. I don't plan to cash out anytime soon, so paper losses and gains mean nothing to me. It's what happens over the long term -- say, the next couple of decades -- that will really decide whether or not I eat cat food in my retirement. Besides, I figure that as long as all our savings and investments drop in concert, we'll all be in the same boat, more or less. Everything is relative, right?

Which is not to say I'm shrugging off our economic crash. I think there are serious questions about the federal bailout and its viability, and who we're really helping. Some people need their money now, and they're going to be in pain. And Bush's speech last night did give me a sense of foreboding.

Still, this is all part of the long haul. It's a serious storm, but it's one we'll weather, one way or another. We have to. Destroy and rebuild.


  1. I too haven't felt that threatened since we own our house and I get my annuity check on the first of every month. But just yesterday I panicked when I thought of what I might do if those checks stopped coming. Yikes! That would be a real wake-up call about the economic failure. I'm sure it will be all of us average Americans who must come together to bail the country out of this mess the rich and greedy have made of it.

    Meanwhile I'm off with friends today to spend money at an outlet mall as though the economy is booming!

  2. I wish more people were as level-headed as you.

  3. This is one of those miraculous moments when having no money, owning no property is actually a blessing. I've got nothin' to lose.

    Not that I'm nonchalant about what's happening either.

    As for Bush, I don't believe a word he says. Shame on him for continuing his tactics of fear. Shame on us for believing him. Even my roommate was unnerved, and he better than anyone knows better than to believe that effin liar.

  4. I agree with you, Steve, staying calm is the way to go. We didn't cash out before, and it was pretty much OK, as you say--paper losses. Long term thinking and having other investments made things come out OK. No big deal. ... As for those retirement years... maybe we'll just start a commune in a pastoral setting for the over seventies crowd when the time comes. By then the windfarm and solar panels should be up and running!
    We will weather the storm.

  5. It just so happens I'm interviewing Real Estate agencies over here for an upcoming blogpost. No doubt about it, we're going into a rough stretch of water - all of us. Banks over here are shutting down mortgage loans except in the most favorable equity profiles - in other words, the pendulum is now swinging the other way.

    a good time to concentrate on simplicity, to stick to essentials and to do the things that matter most for us and for the ones we love.


  6. Yeah, don't give in to the fear-mongers! Came here via Reyas. I like your pics. And Equus is one of my favourite plays ever.

  7. I agree, ignore the fear mongers! But I have to admit, I've been in a state of panic the last day or two because of the gas shortage in the southeast. Riding around town seeing every gas station with covers on the pumps is not a great feeling. I couldn't get 2 gallons to fill up my motorcycle until this afternoon. Can't wait to be in NYC where I'm not as reliant on the oil conglomerates for transportation.

  8. Your photo reminds me of Vonnegut's Player Piano.

  9. Not only is the destroy/rebuild sticker evocative, that the phone is off the hook is very symbolic!

    I am personally putting all my savings into rubber stamps, that way the only fluctuations that bother me is the price of ink!


  10. i said in a post the other day that i was taking my 29.15 from the bank and taping it to the back of my Millet, "The Gleaners". it was my Grandmothers, and I found $150 behind it when she died.
    The problem isn't money, its credit. Granpa borrowed money to build a house and to put in a crop, but he didn't borrow money to buy luxuries, or commodities or stuff like that. he'd a said that was stupid. but thats what we do iasn't it? We do stupid stuff, like send a truck of tomatos from Dallas to Fort Worth, and have them pass a truck of tomatoes moving from fort worth to dallas.

    I'm no economist, hell, i flunked basic math, but there is something wrong with that picture.
    Hi Steve!

  11. lots of headlines over here about Bush talking about how we're all "doomed" - and then commenting on world panic.


    I tend to share your view of it all...

    thats such a great photo