Then we hear about the greedy executives using bailout money intended to be made available as loans to businesses to help invigorate the economy but rather choosing to use it for redecorating bathrooms or holding on to the money to help their institution "weather out the recession." Does no one with decision power have a the ability to do the right thing without thinking of themselves first? I know there has to be stories of good being done with the bailout money but we don't hear about those. It's not as shocking as the media's focus of the dirty rotten scoundrel story.
And then there's health care. This government has dragged it's feet for decades on the need for universal healthcare for all US citizens. Now it's crisis time and they haven't even started. There are so many things needing to be fixed.
It's hard not to get caught up in the storm of these times. You can ignore it for small bits of time, but it's still the dark cloud looming in the distance. You turn your head occasionally and peek at it from the corner of your eye. We pretend that it won't effect us too much but we really know we can't be so sure. Attempting to think we will be prepared for when and if it does hit us. Thinking that saving a few bucks a month by cutting back on lunch outings or buying the bologna instead of the sliced roast beef is going to be enough. But thinking it most likely won't effect us. We're safe from the storm..aren't we?
It can happen in the blink of an eye. Or, in a few minutes in the bosses office, being told on a Friday morning that after 25 years, his position has been eliminated. Not a layoff, eliminated. Gone forever. This is your last day. We're so sorry - it's not because of your work performance, you're an outstanding employee, but each department had to make cut backs and this is the hardest decision we've had to make.
Then the phone call to his wife, me, that was cut short by my sobs. In a moment the storm is overhead and on top of us without warning. I'm crying in fear for what is to come. Knowing what we've seen on the news. All the bad news. That companies are firing, not hiring. What about our health insurance? If one of us gets sick, will we be destitute paying off some medical emergency debt for the rest of our life? It's hard not to go down the dark road. It sucks you in.
I put on a smile and tell all it will be alright while behind the smile my worry deepens. I keep thinking of all the things I need to learn. What happens when we can't pay the bills? How are we supposed to buy our own health insurance at 2 to 3 times more cost on an unemployment income of 30% less? The numbers don't add up. How do people do it?
Behind the smile I wonder if we will be like so many others and have to hand over the house keys to the mortgage company. Will we have to find homes for our cats and dog? That unthinkable loss of our Rico, it's too hard to go there. That dark road, it sucks you in.
Behind the smile I wonder if he will find work. Will he go on interview after interview and be looked over because he's 53? If he's not chosen time after time will it change him? Will it make him laugh less? Will this hurt him? I want to protect him from any hurt that may come his way. Will they know that he used to bring smiles to so many he worked with or that he was called the chocolate fairy by the receptionists? That he found joy in his work of solving the tough questions their experts couldn't figure out. Will they know how many cried or sought him out to say goodbye and shake his hand the day he left? Those aren't questions they ask on an interview.
He is optimistic and confident we will be fine. I need to catch a ride on his flight and stop crawling down the dark hole of mourning. I'll get there eventually. It's hard to be sad for too long when you live with a 6 foot 3 inch tall chocolate fairy who flies through the air in a tutu after all (see photo to right).
We will be OK.