Thursday, April 18, 2013

Is This What the Middle Class Has Been Reduced To?

This shouldn't bother me, because I know it is the whole purpose of these kind of schools to do this, but I got one of those mass mailings today for my local technical/community college's summer course offerings, and there was a picture of a dweeby-looking guy on the front of it, accompanied by the celebratory news that he was a 2011 graduate in IT which had led to a 'career' at Fairpoint, which is an evil Comcast-esque telecommunications conglomerate. This is what is supposed to motivate us, that maybe we can latch on to a position at Fairpoint that (possibly) pays a living wage? I mean, Fairpoint? We aren't talking about the CEO, or even a vice-president or high ranking manager. It's some unidentified IT job. And that's what you're celebrating as a triumph for your school? Admittedly, my own career is dreary and probably less remunerative than this guy's but I was at least allowed at some point in my life to have loftier aspirations and an opportunity to develop myself in a more comprehensive and potentially exhilarating way, even if I was unable to succeed in doing so. You want a concrete example of how corporate domination is draining all the spirit and life out of this country, there it is. Fairpoint as the main reward of any course of education? God help us.

My 2002 Ford Focus died about a week ago--the engine basically exploded. I had bought it new, and it had 175,000 miles on it. I am still a little sad about it. I bought a new minivan to replace it, because my other minivan (a 2007) has 170,000 miles on it and I don't want that to be my main car anymore. When that goes maybe I will get a used smaller car. As in all things I went very slow in life in getting wrapped up in cars. I never had any car for more than a month or two until I was 27, and then my wife and I shared one car between us until I was 37 and she was 34 and we already had 3 children. I took the bus to work for ten years. This is how I was able to avoid early bankruptcy, I guess. I didn't take too many long trips in the Focus. In 2003 we went to Illinois and Missouri when my oldest son was a baby. And we went to Montreal a couple of times. Mostly though in those years we didn't travel far afield much. We didn't start going to Florida until we got the van. We drove around a lot in New England though, especially as for the first couple of years gas was still cheap. It cost around $15-16 to fill the tank, and had been more like $35 in recent years. Now I have two $65-70 behemoths to fill up, though if I only drive the old van around town it might only need to be filled every other week or so...

It's not liberating, to write like this. I am sentimental about the old car because it was a link to the days when I was still pretty young, and my two older boys were babies, and I had a lot more energy and there was a lot more free time and I still could write, both in terms of actual physically sitting down and writing several hours a day as well as putting together semi-cohesive compositions. So that is why I am sad about its dying. I feel about the same degree of sadness as when our cat died in 2006.

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