From the Editor’s Perch…

The New American Economy

On a recent trip to Florida for a wedding, I may have gotten a preview of our coming American life.  Changing demographics and current economic canvassing predict that we’re due to have a bumper crop of aging, underfinanced, citizens facing retirement soon.  These past couple years of economic woes appear to have tossed a lot of them out of their employment sooner than expected.  And it looks like, from my brief visit to the snowbird South, that a lot of senior citizens have decided to move to Florida as planned.  But rather than relaxing on the beach, they find that to make ends meet, they must find work in the service industries.  What does this look like?

Well, just about everyone who worked in the hotel we stayed at looked to be either middle-aged or pushing 60.  The bartender looked like he came of age in the 70s with Steely Dan and Credence Clearwater.  The group of men fixing some plumbing and wiring in the wall could have been old Shriners.  The waiters we suspected of being on work-release for older cons. Tatooes and shaved heads and Van Dykes, and on the whole, pretty grumpy personalities predominated.  Dropping a plate didn’t make ours miss a beat.  He just kept walking.  We generally got one shot at claiming his attention, and after that we were on our own.  The maintenance people felt like a squad of retired military or cops with large guts and veined legs.  And the waitresses were not a good advertisement for breakfast.  I got the feeling that these were people for whom life had not gone as they’d planned. 

When we arrived, it was dark and my wife couldn’t see much out the windows.  So she asked the taxi driver if “you have palm trees here?”  “That’s a stupid question,” he replied.  The bus driver wouldn’t tell our group we were headed the wrong direction.  It was the drunk in the aisle who felt the need to speak up.  And the guy down the street, mowing the sidewalk strip wiped his brow and had to catch his breath before making conversation.  Maybe they were just East Coast People: brusque variety.  Or maybe they were just old, and tired.  Whatever the situation:

‘Enjoy your vacation Carl,’ I’m thinking.  ‘You may be on their side of the counter sooner than you think.’

Photo by Carl Nelson

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2 Responses to “From the Editor’s Perch…”

  1. Donn Trenton Says:

    Most of the people now living in Florida are from NY and NJ. Which explains nearly everything you observed.

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