On blissfully sunny drive around the San Fernando Valley today, I went on a couple of errands. As usual, there were stopovers at places that make me feel like I am connecting to the larger world, that bigger universe of ideas and thought: Borders and Starbucks.
At Borders, there are just so many magazines. It is hard to look at these glossy promotions of a better life, especially when you know the truth is so much less than those covers promise. There are dozens of publications telling you how to make money; many others show impossibly lovely homes and landscaping; others have gourmet eating, sophisticated international travel, weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain, celebrity child rearing tips. There is not an average looking person on any cover, unless they are working for the Obama Administration.
Books, like magazines, are just as eager to sell titles promoting any point of view that might sell. One book that I recently bought, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink, postulates the idea that all those “experts” and people like engineers, doctors and financiers, will lose out to generalists of the imagination, like Andy Hurvitz. I will treasure this book as I collect my unemployment check and fondly remember earning my BA in English from Boston University.
At Starbucks, in Toluca Lake, one can plug their laptop into an outlet and conduct online activities. This will be done while the accompanying Hollywood schmoozers pour in and out the door with fantastic tales of meetings they just had over at NBC, Warner Brothers and Disney. Somehow, their great projects and plans always end up in a coffee store at 2:30 on a weekday afternoon.
The whole world, of course, is not unemployed. There are still many productive people who work within those padded cubicles, and collect paychecks every week. They spend hours on Facebook and Yelp, but unlike those of us at Starbucks who do the same, these employed people have a fabulous sense of purpose and accomplishment, a feeling that they are working and earning something tangible.
Excuse me while I go and order a tall latte.