Sunday, May 13, 2007

privilege in Georgia takes a turn

Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2007 2:56 PM
To: wwo@worldwithoutoil.org


Hi. This is jhericlitis. I'm not really a good writer; however, I'd like to tell everyone what has occurred recently.

A little background would probably help put things in perspective. I grew up a child of privilege, yet I think we all did. I was born in the '70's. I barely remember the gas shortages in the '70s; yet we never had to wait in line due to my father's relationship with a local gas station owner. Anyway, fast-forward. I always wanted to buy a business. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a MBA and a law degree at another school, I worked for a large bank. I accumulated a nest egg, and then relocated to California... to pursue equestrian polo. I warned everyone I was a child of privilege.

As I wrote above, I had always wanted to buy a business. After a year of polo, I bought a florist in Atlanta, GA. I cannot and do not want to make flower arrangements: at the time, florists had a stable cash flow. Also, and I have to laugh, gas was $1.30 per gallon.

When gas rose to $3.00 in 2005-06 (I think) and there was general outrage and fear of running out, which was partly brought on by a local radio host, I hoarded gasoline. I was genuinely afraid of running out of gas. I was an Eagle Scout, and "Be Prepared" was drilled into me for several years. I still have the memory of meeting with a former employee for lunch. He said "j, I am going to have to choose between food and gas." I laughed. "C-, come on. One doesn't choose between gasoline and food." I went on further to inform him that it was general economic theory that supply would increase and prices would decline to $2.00 very soon.

That leads me to today. I look out of my loft. The sweat slowly drips of my nose as I write this due to the fact that I have recently decided to cut off my a/c. Pre-shock, the monthly summer electric bill used to be about $600. It's almost doubled. Yes, I could afford it, but after a shower in the evening things cool off considerably (I have fans).

Business is terrible. I have had to let go 1/3 of my staff. When gas is this high, no one buys a luxury good. That and gas prices at $6.18 and jet fuel so high, I'm lucky to make anything. Oh, also the employees want a raise to compensate for the rise in everything. Philosophically, I can't blame them; however, from a business/survival standpoint, what am I supposed to do? I have the highest respect for everyone, and the problem is the jobs are blue-collar, thus low-paying. The comments of C.- haunt me daily. The people I let go, they lose their health insurance... can they afford food? And all the while Rome burns... and I have fois gras and Sauterne once a week. What the F- is going on? I understand from cold logic the government can't tap the strategic reserve. We're all pretty much on our on...

I feel like this is all some sort of nightmare that I'll wake up from soon. I had plans to return to school and study for an LL.M this fall. Do I put that off? It would allow me to go to London, but things can only be the same there. But I would be free of decisions affecting other's lives in such a dramatic way... maybe I am being melodramatic.

What really frightens me, to be honest, is a statement I heard from some official, pundit, or journalist somewhere. It was about the insurgency in Iraq. The person said basically that if America had unemployment of 40% for several months, like Iraq does, [America] would be in the same situation [as Iraq]. Now, I don't think it would be that bad, but we've never, as a nation, gone without (yes, WW II was the exception, but we were fighting an enemy). And it's easy to become satisfied- ya know? I've observed that when one is satisfied and it's all taken away people get pissed off. Civility deteriorates. I'm probably wrong.

Thanks for reading this and please let me know how things are going elsewhere.

5 comments:

sam said...

jericlitis,

Born in the 70s means early you are in the early 30s. You may make it to the end of the century.

The world is a-changing. It will change even more. You need to go into a mode of adaption -- what can you do to live in a new world. It will not be based on life as you see it on the sit-coms. It will be dog-eat-dog. Only the strongest will survive, or the luckiest. But most important of all, don't stand on the tracks in front of a speeding train.

Good luck,
Sam
the PrudentRVer

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