Sunday, January 18, 2009

milk and other weighty matters

Here's the deal.

I'm 34 years old. I think that makes me generation X, or maybe Y, I'm not sure. Anyway, in my life time I have never seen the type of radical social upheaval that is currently blowing over America like a massive tornado. This is not to say that the 80's and 90's didn't have their fair share of turmoil. It's just that I was never of the age to feel in the least bit effected. We have already established that I grew up in town like Mayberry. I was the girl in the bubble.

But now I'm the one paying the bills, well, I guess technically that would be Ben, but you know what I mean. At twelve I couldn't tell you the cost of a gallon of gas to save my life. Today, I watch the price of oil like a heart monitor.

And things aren't so good. My friends are losing their jobs. My town has many empty houses and store fronts. My rock-n-roll life style has been cramped by the rising price of groceries. I mean how's a girl to afford high fashion when a carton of eggs costs $5.50? (I buy cage-free because I'm that type of person.)

My grandfather, who lived through the Depression, used to spank our bottoms if we didn't finish a can of soda, such was his feelings on wastefulness. As a child I was completely dumbfounded by this and attributed it to some kind of odd paranoia brought on by the ravages of World War II. I had no idea that for some years he had walked the streets of Chicago, hungry, with his navel rubbing against his back bone.

Last Wednesday I caught myself coming down on the boy for wasting a piece of cheese. Granted it was one of the fancy little cheeses that come wrapped in their own red wax, but still. A piece of cheese? Is this what it has come to?

Well, yes. It has. Times are hard and chances are, things are going to get worse. I may even be forced to give up my fresh squeezed orange juice if gas continues to go up. Sheesh. But my message isn't about doom and gloom. No, I am coming to you today with a dispatch of hope. Hope and certitude.

Have you noticed that as the economy gets worse people get nicer? I have. Pretenses are coming down. We are all feeling the pinch and it gives us something in common. Something to talk about.

I recently had a conversation in the Costco dairy freezer with a gentleman fifty years my senior. This is not something I am accustom to doing. First off, I hate to be cold and secondly, I am usually all business when I grocery shop. I suffer from a little known condition known as "cart rage" and so I rarely chit chat at the market.

But on this particular day, this man and I were both inclined to lament the rising price of milk. Dale, it turns out, loves 2% milk but it doesn't sit well on his stomach so he is forced to buy skim. His wife is completely lactose intolerant, which it too bad, but it does mean that he only has to buy one gallon of the cheapest type of milk.

I am hopeful. With the inauguration on Tuesday, I am looking forward to a fresh start. I believe in Americans. We have moxie and chutzpah. We have been through tough years before. This time around we have more tools at our disposal. We have more diversity and less intolerance. We have history to teach us. And we have my grandpa to remind us to be grateful for that can of soda, and by damn, don't waste it.

And if things get to heavy in real life, there is always Dog Beach, where everything is right with the world as long as you are off the leash, smelling butts and chasing balls.

Congratulations Bibi, of Bibs and Pieces. You won the hat giveaway!


Amy @ Park City Girl said...

Great post! We will get through it :)

Shelby said...

I just love your posts April!

T.Allen-Mercado said...

What a great post! The end caught me off guard...I'm a cat person, but when I got it-I chuckled a bit! :)

Laura said...

was that a babybel cheese in that red wax? I just slept with one...don't even ask...will be in a post soon to come I am sure...

Jenny said...

I enjoyed your thoughts! It reminded me of one of the journalists on 60 minutes telling a story! And then it reminded me of the soda I dumped out today, since the kids didn't finish it! Good lesson today!

Amy said...

YES WE CAN!!! LOL. I get my organic cage free eggs at TJ's...its cheaper than the regular eggs at the grocery store...and next time he doesn't want the little cheese in the red wax...I will take it...those are my fave. :)

Kalli Ko said...

oh to be a dog in particular. gus would LOVE dog beach!

these days and times terrify me, especially with a new baby and all of the responsibilities and fears that parenthood brings. i too am very hopeful for change and can't wait to watch the inauguration tomorrow.

loving your shop, btw. glad you found me. you are much more pleasing than the craigslist weirdos!

wendy said...

Oh to be a DOG.

Claire said...

Thanks for this post. It truly gave me something to think about.