It was last July, as I watched a second shift come on, laughing and quite happy with themselves, that I thought… they don’t have a clue about what is about to happen… The Even Greater Depression…

…And as I greeted them… I had what for lack of a better word, ..a vision… and through that process I grew to understand what probably transpired in all those Sunday School history lessons when we were told of someone famous “having a vision…”

Naturally because I was a child, I had always interpreted those moments to be awesomely grand, and mind provoking… with perhaps the entire sky lighting up as a digitalized IMEX screen… But this quiet moment made me wonder whether perhaps a more accurate translation of “vision” in each of those situations……. might have been… say… “insight”, as in “God then gave him insight”.

For as I became disengaged from the interaction taking place, and began to wonder how that same scene would transpire a year from now were something major to happen, with no money capable of trickling in to the business… Granted, I would be out of work. Likewise, everyone coming and going on that July day, would be out of work. Those fortunately wealthy, would still eat… but the rest of us… would eventually die if not for the generosity of others… If economic collapse were ever became total… obsequiously serving those interests of the ruling class, would become the only way to survive…..

Those who had land, of course, could return to an agrarian existence… For the rest of us, there would be no electricity, primarily due to a lack of money to fund it… And with no electricity, most of our homes would become instantly uninhabitable… Neither would we be blessed with any of those comforts stemming from natural gas, fiber optic phones, ipods, batteries, gasoline, cars… Our interstates would be ribbons of concrete… empty….

Without electricity, we would have no way to communicate… Only those miserable few, living up and down our streets, would ever see our face or come to know our name…

And if you were able to extend that vision further…. one generation later…. all of civilization’s benefits… ie. everything we ever learned from any of our previous generations… stops… The era of the Darker than Dark Ages begins… The next generation, those who are just infants now, will grow up seeing abandoned cars with windows smashed, not knowing what they once did; they will see gas stations boarded up and forever sealed, only to guess at their original function; they will ponder the reason for telephone poles whose electrical wires have collapsed, collected, and been stripped…

For that knowledge of “how to start up a power grid”… has passed. And with no way to communicate across great distances, no one could even gather those few remaining experts into one place to figure it out.. And even if that miracle were to occur, it would cost far too much for any investor to initiate the repairs, even if it was a simple matter of figuring out just which switch to flip…..

Yes, in one year things could be vastly different…. our current existence that July day was so fragile.

As my mind returned to the present… and as I watched people who I consider as friends, entering and leaving their livelihoods, completely oblivious to what was looming on the horizon… I understood the kinship I had with those of old, who had similar preminiscent visions as they perhaps looked in on Maria Antoinette’s court syncophanting as normal while plebeian crowds gathered outside the Bastille;…. or as the family of Harold feasted on wild game while unknown to them, Normans climbed into their boats across the Channel, ….or as Anastasia and her brothers ate, played, slept and dreamed while the word circled among Bolsheviks to get themselves to the Winter Palace…

Our routines… are so shallow… when faced with breathtaking events….

But if things go bad… we still have choices… And after reading a comment tacked to the bottom of a post of The Mourning Constitution by one nosy neighbor… I think I saw the crystallization of what those choices eventually solidify into….

We are ultimately given two options… The first option is simple. We can attempt to survive this scenario by being incredibly selfishly individualistic, resorting to every man responsible only for himself… Hoarding what little he has, helping no one; keeping what little he has to hopefully survive beyond the famine…

Or…..

We can instead choose to help our neighbor with all the little we have, and hopefully survive the major bump-in-the-road as a group intact… preserving that good portion of our human nature… Obviously, you can’t help everyone… but if everyone helps someone, we could pull it through. And I think therein lies our answer… Ironically, despite the controversy swirling through October, at the end of November, it really boils down to us “sharing the wealth.” Not equally, of course… but just enough to survive… stepping up to help out when there is no other….

I have often thought myself magnanimous each time I’ve helped out charity… but never have I undertaken a sacrifice as that freely given by a nosy neighbor… It bothers me somewhat that I have a lot of learning to do….

For just today, as I stood in line for my commute-home coffee, a conversation to the side led me to believe that someone who should have retired already, (he’ll never find another job)… had just been let go.. on the day before Thanksgiving… “Sometimes life just shit’s on you” is the quote I overheard….

Stupid selfish ass me… It never even crossed my mind to offer to buy him a cup of coffee……

So as I read, agreeing with another blogger friend saying he didn’t feel like writing the obligatory Thanksgiving post covering all for which he was thankful….. it occurred to me that come Thanksgiving 2009….. perhaps we will understand a little better, how many wonderful things we had at this point in history… for which to be grateful.

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