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:: Friday, October 10, 2008 ::

Ah, the Downward Slide



Photo by Duo de Hale

Whenever I have a printer problem I think of the movie Office Space. ("PC Load Letter? What the f$*k is that?") The last few weeks have brought the film to mind for different reasons.

Peter Gibbons: So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life.
Dr. Swanson: What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Dr. Swanson: Wow, that's messed up.


For the last two weeks I've thought, "Well, it can't possibly be worse than last week." A bank going under, massive drops in the stock market, things that can't possibly be matched. And every week the headlines in the New York Times indeed get worse and worse. (Have you seen the increase of boring graphs on the front page? This stuff is so important aesthetics have been thrown out the window.)

Being on the West Coast has been odd time-wise. The New York Stock Exchange's closing bell usually rings while I'm at work, locking in the day's loss just after lunch. I have a front seat watching Japan's market, catching the first few hours of trading on the Nikkei. My schedule goes something like this: arrive home at two, click on npr.com. Jaw drop. Go to Japanese news website. Jaw drop. Look at the current USD/Yen exchange rate... lather, rinse, repeat.

I think the most frustrating thing is that I'm helpless. There's nothing I can do to fix the problem. It's not a size issue--presidential elections are huge and I'm calling swing states to do my part (go Obama!). It's not that the problem doesn't affect me--I'm paying higher prices for groceries than ever before. Who would have thought that milk would become a luxury, to be bought in small quantities and stretched into as many cups of tea as possible? Good thing I'm not looking for an apartment, as rents in my part of San Francisco have gone up by more than 25% in the last two years. If I had to get a studio today I would be in an outer neighborhood like the Richmond or the Sunset, a half an hour or more from downtown.

Things are getting worse and I can see it. I don't have anyone I can blame. I don't even have a victory garden to plant. All that's left is to watch and wonder just how far we can fall.

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:: Kazen 7:33 PM [+] ::
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