Archive for May, 2009
The plot details of Anne Tyler’s 1997 novel “A Slipping Down Life” have left me, but the book title is always banging around in my head. What is a slipping down life? Could it be happening to me and people I know?
Take my dry cleaning. Please. It used to be important to take my Ann Taylor suits, cashmere winter coats and Thanksgiving tablecloths to the cleaners. Now the laundry bag lies in a heap, half my wardrobe within, moribund. There won’t be action soon. By now it might cost over $100 to get my clothing out of hock. I’m sneaking by ironing a few things I can launder at home. It’s a good thing I’m a girl – this won’t work for the guys in my office forced into ancient uncomfortable suits. Why not add the powdered wig? I digress….
Unprecedented deflation and a seismic shift in American attitudes and actions regarding personal finance, imploding retirement investments and consumer behaviors fascinate me. I am part of an emerging mindset of consumers brand masters have tagged, “the Essentials.”
Essentials crave “durability and functionality, and the more meaningful aspects of life. Time, money and energy are dedicated to endeavors that will deliver more lasting benefits.”
Wow. Wasn’t I just talking about that? Why would I pay $100 for dry cleaning when I could help my son make a student loan payment? What’s really important? Essentials rediscover what matters. We don’t allow our lives to slip down. We cut back as we shore up, in ways that pay it forward for us, and for our tribes. It’s about the home front, not about home decorating.
Do you want to sell me something? Good luck with that. Essentials do it themselves, unless it’s really complicated plumbing or chemotherapy. Consider the Essentials agenda according to emerging Essentials talking heads – “engagement, investment, service and generosity.” I’m all over that.
So I’m Vulcan mind-melding with Frankiecat, and I sez to him, I sez “Frankie, when our ship comes in, we’ll get you that Kitty Condo, and we’ll get it from some dude who builds them from green materials in his yurt in Yelm, who we meet-up with accidentally at some festival this summer. And all will be well. We will shore up, we will not slip down.”