The first thing I noticed coming back: despite all this talk of recession, of homes being reposessed, of record credit-card debt (and credit drying up) – despite the fin-de-regime weariness of the end of the Bush years and the loss of jobs to the globalized economy and the shabby airports and decaying infrastructure, the drain of the war in Iraq on the economy, the psyche of America – despite all this, compared to anywhere else I’ve been recently –
Americans have way more SHIT!!
It was kind of overwhelming when i first came back.Even my artist friends, living on the edge of this very gentrified, corporatized city. New Imacs, ipods, iphones; new vehicles, toasters, water filters, vintage guitars, new DVD players, hi-def cameras, radios, TV’s. All the vehicles are so much bigger than in England or Europe, as if everyone has to take up two, three times the space as people in other parts of the world. Even in Bed-Stuy – brand new Cadillac SUV’s hopped up with silver hubcaps, new Lexus here, new Mustang there – a Hummer or two.
Food prices might have gone way, way up (as bad as London). People in other parts of the country might be losing their homes. The fear might be settling in – and you can feel it walking around, just there below the surface. Affordable health care might be out of reach to 30 million Americans (and barely adequate to many who can afford it) – but by God that hasn’t stopped folks buying stuff.
And after the deprivation which is the lot of most of the non-rich in London town, it’s almost a relief.