Friday, March 14, 2008

If I Could Pack Now, I Would

As news of the US plummeting into a full blown recession hits front pages everywhere, and the value of the dollar is dropping like bungee jumpers on spring break, Jarod and I are planning our next European vacation. Either we're idiots or optimists, perhaps both. In any case, the flights are booked, the apartment is reserved, and our purse-strings are hereby tightened as we anticipate the price of a Nicois sandwich going from pretty reasonable, even though the dollar is a little crappy, to WHOA THERE WE'LL JUST HAVE THE CARAFE D'EAU as the dollar becomes absolute shit. (My mother is reading this now going, "And someone's language is heading south along with the dollar...")

In case you haven't guessed, we're going to Nice. Also to London, but I don't even want to think about that exchange rate, so please shut up LALALALALAWECAN'THEARYOU. We had planned to go to San Francisco in the summertime for BlogHer and possibly a few extra days of vacay, but then one day I was waxing nostalgic about Nice and Jarod asked, "So, would you rather go to Nice than to BlogHer?" And I said, "Duh. Two tickets to the Riviera, please." As it happens, it's not a lot more expensive to go to Europe than it would have been to pay for our travel, lodgings, etc. in San Fran. So, falling dollar or no, we are headed across the pond in the autumn.

The news of the recession doesn't surprise me in the least. Our national pastime is spending money we don't have, so why should we be surprised to find out that we are now in dire straits, that we need to spend less and pay off more? We have been encouraged both by advertisers and our very own government to spend, spend, spend. Our government has been spending way beyond its means thanks to a war that was waged based on a pack of lies. Banks loaned money to people for mortgages that in time they wouldn't be able to afford. We have wanted more than we had, even though what we had was good enough. We have been unwise. What we have sown, we are reaping. And though that may hurt, I think it's the only way we'll learn to do better in the future. I know this from experience. Twelve thousand dollars worth of credit card debt experience, that is. It hurt to pay it back. I worked hard and got tired and cried buckets some nights. But it was worth it to get out the way that I did, more worth it than if I'd gotten out via some random financial windfall. If it had been easy to get out, I probably would have turned around and gone right back in again. I am grateful for the lesson as much as I am for the payoff.

I think that America will come back around. It will take longer than we'd like and be harder won than most people would prefer. But my hope is that, as individuals and as a nation, we will be all the better for it once it's over and done. In the meantime, I'll be plunking all my extra dollars into my jackelope bank so that once we do arrive on the shores of the Mediterranean, I can afford a damn sandwich.


cara said...

and you'll be hopping on a ferry from Nice to Bastia, right?!

and you don't have to tell me about the failing economy, lousy dollar - Henri earns US bucks and we live in Europe. so we're really in the crapper.

Shiz said...

Good for you!

I am a bit skeptical about the USA learning form this. I think individuals will blame the "economy," not having any clue about their part in said economy.

Also, regarding your horrible language: HA! It reminds me of this:

Bart: It'll be like "The Swiss Family Robinson," but with more swearing. We'll live like kings. Damn, hell, ass kings!

DAMN HELL ASS is right.

marymuses said...

Cara, we ARE thinking of hopping on the ferry...or coercing you guys to hop on the ferry. Either way, we want to meet up.

Shiz, I think you are probably right about Americans and the economy, but I am an optimist. I'm at least hoping that the sub-prime crisis will serve as a reminder to ask questions and READ THE DAMN PAPERWORK BEFORE YOU SIGN IT.

Damn hell ass kings, indeed.