The Sixth Of Fourth

photo (34)The July Fourth weekend is as good a time as any to reflect on the state of This Great Nation as it is a time to unplug from the Rase d’Ratton and think about what we do in our free time. Those of us who still have free time and remember how to structure unstructured time in order to gain maximum ability to squeeze one’s non-working life into the 48 – 72 hours of the weekend, holiday included.
The idea of time off is a rather modern concept. “Free time” did not exist in those olden days where the majority of us worked in fields or mines or field mines or boiled horse fat and fish heads in order to make the village smell just right. The bugs and famine did not mind free time or respect the weekend. We did, the majority of us have religions that created space not to work, but this time was taken up in feasting, carnivaling, worshiping, confessing, or pilgriming. No free time there.
It seems that a good deal of the people this author knows do not have a great deal of free time, that is, time exclusively off of work. A good many work 6 days a week or work at random times and days not entirely sure where their schedule is or when to block out some quality time with the gold fish or plants or whatever thing that only needs occasional watering that serves as their company. And this is just those who have fully done what they think is right in order to get ahead and does not include those marked with Sloth, addiction, or poor quality of work and creators of shoddy goods.
This indeed raises a great many questions about where our generation has gone, where we are, and where we will go in a future that doesn’t seem given to any form of revolt or change in order to right the social ill of what appears to be an income inequality that is eating away at our middle classes and our ability to attain lives familiar to our station as it is well documented that a worsening of the working condition keeps the lower social orders well below the standard of living this country was imagined as attaining this last American Century. It appears that for many this blogger personally knows financial security is something that seems less achievable each year rather than more and this is pending health events, family events, and death to which our cohort will ever become more accustomed to as the years go on and Father Time takes His due.
This July 4th was an enjoyable weekend spend outside of Gothem and the pageant celebrations of Macy’s and The Police State. Gathered we were with a select few friends and visited others who lived full-time on the beach down the coast in a popular and ancient village almost the tip of the eldest state of the Union. Having come from several cities, we all settled in to what was a sleepover for adults connected by our colleges and careers in deep long-term relationships and friendships. Those of us gathered all had what in generations past would be enviable careers. Doctors, lawyers, business and technology professionals. However, we all were at the end of our credit lines and had commitments and enough collective debt to choke even the most optimistic Freemarketeer. We drank wine, ate crabs, and watched the fireworks like in our younger days, but this was all in the shadow of this New Normal that a scant decade ago more of us were optimistic about starting new ventures and families than we were today.
In many ways, this small gathering at a beach house watching fireworks on the beach and cooking and eating, laughing and all that would be as timeless as it is distinctly American. We were enjoying a luxury away from kings and cornfields that was given to those middling classes in a very short span of history, and perhaps that age is to an end. Perhaps we all knew this, that our gardens and wine knowledge was becoming as obsolete as the Russian monarchy. And to this – perhaps just a little like those antique outmoded aristocrats – we all did our power-relaxing, the fast-paced attempt to stuff in all the restful and personally satisfying activities into a short time-span, knowing that as we get older the hours fly by and that this reprieve is but a short yard time away from our work-a-day cells. This time was ever more rare since so many are working without full weekends, or seldom find a weekend free for months on end. This in the past used to reward the active and diligent worker with some modicum of wealth, but more often than not, at least in the people I personally know, this does not afford them a higher level of future comfort but buys them but a little more time from their current debtors. Yes, we each racked up the bills. It was our choice to get a higher degree or skill. Our choice to buy property to settle down and join a community. Our choice to attempt to raise up from the muck. But it does seem unfair or a little fixed in a way that these strivings are no longer rewarded as they should be or once were.
Perhaps this is the Natural Order of The Market. We become ever less valuable. Perhaps this is the fix from the more powerful among us who see the middle class as the ultimate threat to their wealth and authority as the kings of old some two hundred and some odd years ago saw the middling classes of the soon to become United States a threat that ultimately ended in this experiment we have yet to prefect.

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