Two days back in oppressively authoritarian Florida; already chomping at the bit: can’t wait to escape the HOA* I was stuck in for 20 years — primarily due to
grinding, years-long, abject poverty my historical élève fainéant tendencies — and return in about a week to Westchester.
You probably don’t know what it’s like to live for long periods of time below what is officially considered the so-called Federal “poverty line” in the US — a ridiculous number, no matter the state.
Maybe you should try it for a month.
For example, you could try out the exciting SNAP lifestyle, and see what it’s like for your entire household to survive nowadays on $216 dollar a month for food.
Or try renting an apartment, when the maximum unemployment benefit you can get is, say, $275 per week.
Or see what it feels like, when you’re hurting bad, and you really need to go the doctor, but your insurance deductible is $10K, so you don’t.
For 20 years.
I was nearly blind from macular degeneration for several years because I could not afford the several thousand an operation would cost to restore my vision.
And this was while I was paying $950 a month to Blue Cross Blue Shield.
But you don’t really want to hear about all this whiny crap, do you?
After all, you’re invulnerable. Will you one day get old and sick?
But not yet.
So screw it.
The planet is going to be uninhabitable soon enough, so why fret, when there is nothing you can do to change anything.
Pretend to buy the lies, make sure you get to enjoy your youth while you still have a decent job, and, now pay attention, because this is the most important part:
DON’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT NOW.
That is the mantra I heard from Vick (not his real name), the Bronxville cab driver who drove my wife and I to Westchester Airport on Wednesday, and the subject of market volatility came up.
He said: “the way things are going, the smartest thing you can do is nothing. Just sit tight.”
How do you know this? I asked.
Well, the inverted yield curve is now telling us that the future looks like absolute shit.
The yield curve is inverted? I repeated. Sounds bad. What’s the yield curve, exactly?
Never mind that. What’s worse is the coming civil war, Vick said.
Oh? When is that happening?
Oh right after the November elections, said Vick. The people in this country are too far apart. This is all started in the 60s. That’s when America went down the crapper.
Since I rarely watch MSNBC, and thus don’t necessarily believe The End of The World Is Near, And It’s All Trump’s Fault. I don’t, as a rule, give pathological liars, let alone psychopaths, too much cred, no matter how deviously puffed up & menacing they try to appear. Look at how pathetic Saddam was after he was illegally captured. Now picture Trumpie boy in shackles, orange jumpsuit, no dye job, and a framed photo of smiling Obama hanging on the wall in front of his cell.
So I decided not to challenge Vick’s gloomy view of the future — especially as we had arrived at HPN, and I was already totally on board, like for the past decade or two, man, with The Dude’s holistic approach to life.
On the plane, my wife asked me what I thought about what Vick had said.
Well, I know one thing to be true, I said.
What’s that? she said.
We’re definitely going to Portugal in September. Dollar is doing real good against the Euro right now.
What about the burning? she said.
We can stay in Porto, I replied. It rains all the time there anyway.
But what about the oligarchs on the lam who are all flocking to Porto, she said, the ones who’ve suddenly rediscovered their historical Sephardic roots, after robbing the Russian people blind.
Well, look on the sunny side, I said: we could run into God: after all, Portugal is at the end of the world. Where patiently God — or The Shaytan — await.
My wife look unconvinced.
Maybe Vick’s right, I said. Maybe we shouldn’t do anything at all right now.
My wife’s face brightened.
Good, she said. This way Geeva can have a litter, and we can all permanently move back to Westchester if the merda really starts to hit the fan.
*HOA in Florida stands for Home Owners Association. A more accurate way of of describing HOAs is “a suffocating form of collectivism” — a phrase used in a different context by Ishida Mitsunori in his December 2021 article on the phenomenon of kodokushi and the loneliness of becoming old in Japan.
In effect, the ersatz “Mediterranean,” volume-ceiling architectural trope manifested in many semi or detached cookie-cutter “villas” typical of South Florida gated so-called “communities,” together with their packed, beehive layout, reduces their curb appeal– especially during low season — to that of crypts in a boilingly hot and insufferably humid mausoleum.
If you drive around at 4am, you can sometimes observe under a full moon the nocturnal summer behavior patterns of particularly spectral HOA residents — the ones who cannot afford to be snow birds, or the ones who still haven’t let themselves succumb to the fuckits — shuffling about in pairs, like sad, geriatric zombies.
Perhaps Amerika will eventually be a better (and far more economically viable) place when they all — finally! at last! — find themselves in a far better place, where we are no longer on the hook for the exorbitant Medicare bills that only delay Darwinian realities in the name of tax-payer funded compassion. Try spending some time in a regular old folks home and see for yourself how compassionate such a setup actually is.
** Don’t get your hopes up, as this will never happen.