Thursday, March 12, 2009

What Goes Up

I've always been a believer in that simple concept that what goes up must come down. That a string of particularly brutal winter days will always be met with at least one mild, sunshiny day to remind us all to 'hang in there', things will get better. The power of self correction.

As we watch history unfold before us in the form of a frightening economic shakedown, I can't help but think that this, too, is self-correction.

It was not too long ago that I can remember walking through grocery stores and airport newsstands, wondering to myself, 'do we really need an entire magazine dedicated to cat clothing?' And try as I might, the only answer I could come up with (besides who in the HEEELLLL?) was, simply, NO. We didn't need 16 magazines about golf, 32 titles covering the intricacies of celebrity hairstyles, 9 rags about knitting and crocheting (sorry mom!). We just didn't need it all, and somewhere in the back of our minds, we knew it. Yet we could all squeal with delight at the discovery of a publication dedicated to some obscure interest of ours. I knew it! There are people out there who want to know more about Dungeons & Dragons!

In the not too recent past I recall feeling a growing discontent about the number of banks I would encounter on a daily basis. In this I know I was not alone. Working in Manhattan, where stores turn over at a particularly high rate, I couldn't help but notice that every time an eatery or clothing store would shut down, it was a solid bet that what would pop up next would be a bank. You could walk the entirety of Manhattan, bladder full to bursting, and not find a public bathroom, but you'd have no trouble drawing money out of an ATM or inquiring about (and apparently getting!) a home loan.

And then there was the coffee. Us lemmings would line up inside of Starbucks, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to fork over $4.68 for a shot of espresso and a healthy dose of warm milk. Starbucks responded, giving us what we wanted, and then giving us more, and more, and more. They began to multiply, and at its saturation point one was convinced that an aerial shot of Manhattan surely would be colored in that warm, soothing mixture of green and brown that Starbucks is known for, with a pleasant, frothy steam arising from the city streets.

And so it was. We were all walking around carrying stacks of magazines about obscure hobbies, passing only banks and Starbucks' on a daily basis. And then the crash. Sure, a lot of things happened. A lot more serious things than the folding of unnecessary magazine titles and the reduction in Starbucks franchises. But can I go out on a limb and say some unintended fall-outs of tragic happenings are actually nice? That I find comfort in the power of self-correction? What goes up must indeed come down. And when we go too far, too fast, take on too much, a force--sometimes greater than ourselves--will come into play and guide us back toward a saner reality.


whether girl said...

Yay! Glad you're updating this again. Very well written, and very true.

Who the HEEEELLLL? had me laughing.

V-Lo said...

I totally noticed this the other day when I had to pee. I couldn't find a starbucks to stop in. I was like WTF. When I worked up on Broadway I could see 2 separate starbucks from the office now its like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Crazy!