Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Unbearable Inertia of Being

Lo those many months ago, back in September, I had just turned the wise-old-age of twenty three when Lehman Brothers, a company I knew only by the people who had applied to work there, was on the edge of bankruptcy. After the Bear-Stearns incident, I publicly avowed that I simply didn't know enough to say whether the treasury aught to act fast to throw billions of dollars their way and prevent their 'collapse.' But had you cornered me (or more likely, I cornered you) after a few beers and insisted on talking over the day's headlines (say, in grassroots--oh, the good times) I probably would have said that Paulson "should just let the damn thing fail" to see what happens. Little did I know he was apparently listening.

Regardless of what I knew about the commercial paper market at the time (par example; i knew that it existed), my opinion would have been founded on a profound belief in momentum. The legs of this belief system are two-fold and follow this simple line of logic: a) the world economy is huge; simply inconceivably complex and massive. b) it appears to be going swimmingly, and as long as it appears to be so, why should anything change?

Frankly, I am, and was, aware of what is my (and i trust many others') tendency toward this operational assumption. Modern America is (maybe, was) simply stable. There is nothing to fear, because nothing will change, and nothing will change because there's no reason for it to. But it is so tempting a delusion (at least when considering world systems) that even the aware buy into it.

Anyway, I brought this up to perhaps explain how my person has reacted to a drastic change in environs. First, there was almost no stress until I actually had to leave for the airport. Typical in these kinds of cases, I apparently maintained the delusion until the very end. Next, on the plane, I embraced a sort of micro comfort. I was fortunate enough to have a seat wider than most, and this, plus the extra sandwiches I brought made the flight super nice. After landing, survival instinct and adrenaline kicked in, and I managed to get here with very little trouble, and even saved some money by taking a cab rather than the university's hired coach.

But after the necessary things came time for reflection--not voluntary reflection, unavoidable reflection--and it was only in the dark moments following arrival in my room that my person reacted to this drastic change. It did so first by sleeping. I spent most of the day in bed, and when I couldn't get my mind to shut down, I started watching movies. Very rarely will I watch a movie alone, and it is mostly when my brain needs to turn off, which it very much needed.

Only now, two dark days later, am I starting to cope. The shock of the situation may have badly bruised my psyche, but I just don't know if there is any other way. Who doesn't love inertia?

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