Too grown up to dream

Thanks to the London Olympics, I recently re-aquainted myself with the music of my youth – eighties brit pop (turns out I might have been cool in high school after all). Among them, Bryan Ferry of Slave to Love fame. His line – too grown up to dream – has struck a chord with me this long and humbling summer of floods, closures, compromise and concerns for the future.

Throw in a Presidential election and a Euro crisis for good measure and you can see why a teen from the eighties where there was quite literally nothing to lose might have occasion to worry now that’s she’s closer to retirement and literally, everything is at stake.

I’ve always been an idealist. I was born that way (thanks to my Mom and Dad). But it comes at a cost. My optimism and enthusiasm have often been mistaken for naivete or an offer of free services for a good cause. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not naive. Nor can I afford to work for free (but sometimes I do because the cause is too important to pass up).  I am not rich, or elitist (as some would like to call me). I am just getting by. And that’s a difficult position to be in when you’re from a generation where the world was yours for the taking (and some did more taking than others). In fact, it’s more than a difficult position, it’s just plain scary.

Income disparity scares me. It was more fair when I was a kid. We all had what we needed. We all wanted what we wanted. Occasionally, someone would luck out and we would celebrate their success. But there were no super rich and super poor. We were all somewhere in the middle. And if someone was in a tough spot – we’d find a way to even it out, quietly, among neighbours and friends. Wealth was not a matter about which you would boast – unless you were a jackass. And jackasses were rarely invited to neighbourhood get-togethers. They always had something better and more jackass like to do. If anything, public displays of wealth were frowned upon. A bit like public displays of affection are these days. Ugh. Get a room. Count your money in private, loser. Seriously, that’s how I remember it. Play down wealth. Don’t brag. Don’t show off. It’s rude.

It’s not like that anymore. In fact, it’s the total opposite. We celebrate wealth like it’s a dangly charm on a bracelet. Gold rims on Cadillac Escalades. Pick up trucks with accessories worth more than the average family’s annual grocery budget. Tattoos whose cost would rival that of commissioning a modern Mona Lisa. Parties on yachts (after republican conventions, for example). Boob jobs, botox and liposuction. Every superficial imperfection can be fixed with money, it seems.

I’d go as far as saying that multi-nationals are liposuctioning all the money out of the economy because they can. It’s dead money and it’s killing us. No wonder some of us feel a bit “flat” as it were. Not every business owner is a greedy money grubber. Some of us do it because it’s our only choice. We work in towns where there are no full time jobs that can provide gainful employment. So we take risks. Start businesses that will afford us a half-decent living and might even employ another person or two with a decent wage. But I’ll tell you this for free. It ain’t easy and it ain’t cheap. So next time you slam a local business because their t-shirts or thing-ma-bobbers aren’t as cheap as the same ones you can find at WalMart or some other gigantic retailer – don’t expect a sympathetic ear because your taxes have gone up or nobody sponsored the community cause that’s so important to you. I don’t want to hear it. And I’m not alone.

It’s a tough time to be a business owner. There is very little confidence in the economy. And it wears a person down. And if you don’t believe me – try running your own business. Good luck. If banks aren’t lending, you’ll need your own capital or that of your loved ones to get it started. And if customers aren’t buying because they think your goods and services are cheaper down the road, you’ll need to cut prices to get into the market. This isn’t about having your pencils sharpened to offer the best deal, it’s about still having a pencil by the end of the month.

If I can offer any advice, it would be this. Don’t take the businesses that are there when you need them for granted. Ask them how things are going. Ask them how sales are going. Look them in the eyes. If you see desperation, disappointment or despair, give them a break. Thank them for what they do, buy a little extra something if you can. And tell your friends. Believe me, that act alone will bolster the economy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we’re all in this together. You are the single most important economic power our local economy has. So use your power for good.

In the words of Bryan Ferry
“Tell her I’ll be waiting in the usual place
With the tired and weary and there’s no escape.
To need a woman you’ve got to know
How the strong get weak and the rich get poor.”

If your usual place is Salmon Arm, and you love it, please consider this, it needs you now more than ever.

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4 Responses

  1. The one thing that stands out with you elitists. enviromentalists and greedy merchants…it’s your total lack of concern for the working, poor and disabled people in this town. You ganged up to stop the SC development which would of brought over $1,000,000 yearly in taxes and created 480 jobs. You have some nerve crying about the bad economy which you created in this town. Many of this towns disabled have to live off $906/month including rent. Now you want us to help you…your own greed has created this mess, which in the end will be your undoing.

    • SC has paid less than $1000 so far in fees to the City. The annual taxation is not over $1,000,000 and the projected new job creation is closer to 280, by their own admission – many of which would be replacement employment.

      I won’t comment on what you perceive as my lack of care or concern for my community as I doubt you have the faintest clue about what I have or haven’t done since you’ve never met me and know nothing about me.

      I, for one, would never venture to make those assumptions about others, especially total strangers – and I’ll thank you for showing the same consideration here.

      • I’d love to see where you get that information from, probably from the same place that said that lot is on wetlands. Third highest lake level ever recorded and not one drop on that lot…But Louise, isn’t that you ultimately want, zero fees and zero tax dollars coming into the city. Remember what you said about this town, “Small is beautiful”. The kicker is you people are costing the the residents many thousand$$$ in ongoing legal fees to stop ANY jobs from being created. I’ll be sure to post the bill when it becomes available, that’ll encourage taxpayers patronage to the merchants in this town. Maybe the elitists consider consider raising funds for the les art gallery charitable work, but that hardly helps the poor and disabled in this town.

      • hi

        The numbers came from the city and SC’s own electioneering during the municipal race.

        The gallery hosts more free events than most any facility in town – especially for seniors and young families. It’s open 6 days a week and operates year round.

        I won’t go twelve rounds with you in public because you don’t want to agree with certain facts as presented.

        And I am not “you people”. I am a person. If you can’t show me at least that much respect, don’t expect to have your views seen here.

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