Well, it's finally happened. Ol' besse is giving up the ghost. After emitting noxious fumes into the cabin for a week and sputtering like an animal after a massive stroke, the Ford Escort up and died. Sorta. I was able to nurse it on back home, but slowly and with the hazards on.
To make matters even more pathetic, it died while we were driving between thrift stores in search of a used washing machine because our washing machine also died. Last time it was the coupler, which we fixed. This time it seems to be the washing machine transmission which costs just about as much as a used washing machine just for the part.
On the bright side, we still have the toaster. The toaster is working fine. I just toasted a bagel, so I can vouch for the full functionality of the toaster.
I guess I'm more stressed about the car than the washing machine. The problem with being a single car family is, you don't have a back-up car. And the problem with cars is, they're very expensive. Even the cheap ones.
As I wallow in self pity for a moment, this gives me a good opportunity to segue into the notion of middle class momentum.
When somebody first enters into a lousy economic situation after having had a job for a while, they probably had a car and functional appliances and most were probably in halfway decent working order. Their glasses were probably of the correct prescription and clothes were probably new-ish and their socks and underwear probably had a decent hole to no-hole ratio, favoring No Holes. The living quarters were probably maintained well enough.
And for a while, sans job, folks are able to live, more or less, a standard middle class existence with most of the amenities: Microwave, Car, Television, Lawn Mower, Washer and Drier, maybe even a dish washer and some sort of Air Conditioning.
But as time wears on, and the economic situation doesn't change......these things start to decay. The eyes get worse and the prescription isn't quite exactly right. The washing machine dies. The car troubles are put off for another day...and put off, and put off, and put off. The machines in our lives that we generally associate with a middle class existence fall apart one after another...
...we watch, physically WATCH, the world crumble around us.