Secrets by American Imagery
I can't sleep, I've spent my last night in Georgia. I've spent my last night in this tiny little room. A room that's been both my refuge and my prison for these many months. An incubator and a learning institution, and its graduation day. I am headed for Dick Cheney's famous "undisclosed location."
There are four directions and they are all equally well suited for a new start. A new start, I like the sound of that. Maybe someday we'll elect a President and that will be the policy, a new start. I've been so excited with the coming change that I wasn't sure what to write about. With the holidays there hasn't been much news to comment on.
I did have a nice chuckle over the unemployment numbers, not over the numbers themselves but over the media's over reaction to them. 388,000 new claims for unemployment last week and the media heralded it as proof positive that the economy was truly on the mend. What was last week? Well, it was Christmas week, a week when even Scrooge was hesitant to fire anyone. A week when the Christmas help knows that the end is coming but just not yet.
The truly humorous angle to the story was it was a week with record snow fall along the East coast. The largest snow fall in sixty years in New York. The Governor of New Jersey explained, if you were snowed in, it wasn't the state's fault. The New York Subway system was shut down as were the airports and yet none of these minor incidents made it into the news reports of the improved unemployment claim numbers.
The billionaire mayor of New York explained that rather than a snow shovel, he was fighting the blizzard with the telephone, then he threw another bundle of twenties on the fire. He watched from the window as city crews politely plowed the street in front of his house and then he phoned in a good report.
Governor Christie of New Jersey was doing his very best impersonation of Springfield's mayor, Diamond Joe Quimby. Quimby, ah Christie was fighting the blizzard from Disney World. He explained that he'd promised his kids that he would take them to Disney World over the holidays and that his wife would kill him if he disappointed them. Nothing wrong with taking the family to Disney World except, New Jersey's Lt. Governor was also vacationing over the holiday's in Florida as well.
Manys the time when I couldn't get off from work because someone else was all ready taking off. With working folks it doesn't seem to matter much if our kids are disappointed, no matter what homicidal threats our spouse might make. All rolled together it illustrates a ruling French aristocracy, let it snow, someone will deal with it, let the phone ring, someone will answer it. Let the callous incompetence be portrayed, our media people will cover for it.
FDR did not want to run for a third term. He changed his mind because the war clouds were forming and he feared the Democrats did not have a strong candidate to replace him. Roosevelt had all ready contracted with the Saturday Evening Post to become an editor and writer. The Post had offered to pay FDR $100,000 for the job but FDR requested that they pay him only $75,000. "That is an unseemly amount of money to pay a former President."
Harry Truman left the White House and moved into his Mother in-laws house. He was offered a free car but chose instead to buy his own saying, "It would be inappropriate to accept such a gift." FDR had remarked when some of the antics of his son's were mentioned to him, "That it is a terrible thing to be the son of a President." I guess he meant they got disappointed a lot. That was a different era, before we had a Disney World.
I'm off to an "undisclosed location" with a shower and a kitchen. I hope I do all right, I hope I can become reacclimated to gentile living. I packed my clothes and my few belongings and I thought, that sure isn't much to show for fifty years of life. Then when I looked at the pile again I thought just the opposite. Look at all that, how much of this do I really need? My suitcase and my guitar in all of her twelve stringed majesty, we take to the road again.
Most of what I take from here is internal, I have a deep gratitude to my son for offering me this refuge. That gratitude is tinged with sorrow, because the reason I must leave here is because his business is in decline. It is one thing to be disappointed at fifty and quite another to see your dream die at twenty five. He has done nothing wrong, he has followed all the rules. He sold cars for $5,000 and then $4,000 and then $2,500. His customers no longer have any money and the only way to hold on is to become a "buy here pay here" dealer.
He had considered doing that, but he would have to borrow money from the bank to make that happen. You'd have to think long and hard about that prospect, to sign on the dotted line in this economy. Instead, he will close his doors and move on. This building once had ten businesses in it and when he is gone it will have only two. I doubt with all the vacancies in the park that the landlord can meet his obligations.
It is an era of disappointment and searching, the mechanic up the street had gone into business less than a year ago. His house recently went into foreclosure and the business was on the brink, so he loaded up his belongings into a U-haul and headed for Florida. What will become of a generation forced to build on sand? What will happen to them after repeated disappointments?
It is very strange how my own reprieve came about, I was offered a room in this "undisclosed location" but it is far,far away from the red dirt of Georgia. I asked myself how could I get there? I looked on Craigslist, and there, the third ad down was this. "Going to an "undisclosed location" January 3rd, need someone to share drive and expenses."
That in its self was quite remarkable except, I didn't have the money. So I placed an ad on Craigslist to sell a guitar and sold it in two hours. Strangely, I had tried to sell this same guitar for the same price six months ago and got to no takers. It has taken on the character of predestination, as everything I've need to occur has occurred like clock work.