atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3997: 24 hours later, the heat is on.

Ahh, October. Yes, October.

Whatever the outdoor temperature was last night, it was low enough that it was 66° inside the bunker when I got up this morning. Looks like it hit about 44° outside, and that'll do it; it seems that if the outside air temperature is under fifty degrees, the heat inside must go on.

I don't know: I felt comfortable walking around in my underwear, but once the heat kicked in and things started warming up, I could feel my skin relaxing, like I had tensed up against the chill and could relax as things got warmer. Can you be cold and not know it? Perhaps it's because the temperature dropped gradually, and like a boiling frog I just acclimated to it and didn't notice.

What I do know is that Mrs. Fungus was chilly last night when it was 69° in here; she wasn't going to like 66° and I historically have felt like I was freezing with the inside air at that temperature. So the thermostat got set to 70, which is a reasonable temperature.

* * *

DOOM! It's the best way to preface any discussion of the economy.

And from elsewhere, families are hoarding cash. This one contains something on which I must comment:
Shunning debt and spending less can be good for one family's finances. When hundreds of millions do it together, it can starve the global economy.

Weak growth around the world means wages in the United States, which aren't keeping up with inflation, will continue to rise slowly. Record unemployment in parts of Europe, higher than 35 percent among youth in several countries, won't fall quickly. Another wave of Chinese, Brazilians and Indians rising into the middle class, as hundreds of millions did during the boom years last decade, is unlikely.
No, wages in the US are failing to keep pace with inflation because illegal immigration depresses wage growth. That's why Big Business is so keen to lobby Congress to pass amnesty every dozen or so years; it takes about that long for a fresh crop of illegals to grandfather in to legal status and start expecting living wages.

Karl Denninger once again displays his enviable ability to shout at the wind, unceasingly. I find it admirable that he can point, again and again, at all the things which must be done to avert the coming crisis...and which will not be done because they are politically impossible. Any politician that votes to cut GDP by 40%--no matter how necessary it may be!--is committing career suicide, and unfortunately there are no statesmen in the aristocracy, let alone enough of them to fix what needs fixing.

"Beware of Greeks bearing gifts," Cassandra said. No one listened to her, either.

But then Monty finishes his DOOM! post with a short treatise on what makes civilization work:
One of the principles I've always lived by is that, most of the time, there's no reward for doing the right thing. No pat on the back, no promotion, no bonus payment, no certificate, no trophy, no party. No one's going to congratulate me for doing something I should be doing anyway. This is not injustice. That's just the way things are. That's how things should be. A person who understands this can live in the world as it is with no fear. Understanding this fact is an essential step in learning how to function as an adult.

***

Life is getting up every morning and doing the necessary, and then getting up the next day and doing it all over again. Sometimes we do this right up until death interrupts the process. This is not sad or tragic. It's how life always was, is, and ever shall be. We find joy in our families, in our amusements, and in the work or in the things that our work makes possible. We carry our share of the load, or even a bit more to spare the weak or lame. We do not shirk, because shirking increases the burden others must carry.

And that's how civilization endures.
That really is the way things are. I don't cut the grass, or wash the dishes, or do any of the other chores I do because someone's going to give me a hug and a gold star for it; I do it because these things need doing. I don't even expect to be thanked for it.

A lot of being an adult revolves around taking responsibility for yourself: paying your own bills, handling your own paperwork, doing thankless chores. No one hands you adulthood on a silver platter; it's a mantle you must assume. And it's not going to impress anyone because everyone does the same things. If you want people to be impressed you must do impressive things. Restoring a car by yourself is impressive; cutting the grass and doing some yard work is not.

At age 46 I still have the impulse to look for the gold star and the hug when I do something that's expected of any normal adult man, but that's just a vestigal reflex and part of the process that ends with me feeling well satisfied with the job I've done (whatever it may be). If you can't do that--if you refuse to do needful tasks unless you get positive reinforcement from the people around you--you're stuck in sixth grade.

* * *

...that said, when I make an obvious reduction to the heap of junk in the garage I can't help but show it off. Almost none of that junk is out there because of me, and most of it has been there for decades. Because of the conditions here, 2013 is the first time I have felt empowered to make a serious reduction of the pile, but I have been whittling away at that crapstack for years, doing a little here and a little there, as was possible. A lot of the work I've done before the past few years was merely increasing the density--making floor space by more efficiently stacking junk--but since my Dad died I have thrown out or recycled more stuff than I've saved, and the pile is shrinking.

And I really need to get out there soon and finish what I started in August. Winter is coming.
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