Vacuumslayer has an awesome post up, some fine writing and I take back all the snark about her typos I have written. Well, until the next time she makes funny misspellings, because DAMN those are tasty and hard to resist.
But. I am also part of the 99%. And like vs says, we are doing OK.
Almost entirely because Wife Sublime works for a planet-killing multinational corporation that pays zero taxes. Which makes me somewhat conflicted.
I once had such dreams. Such hopes. While I started college as a baby Engineer, very quickly I discovered it was not my thing, and through happenstance found myself talking to a Madison architect. What he told me was “OK, there aren’t any jobs, but being an architect is a good career.”
He was right. I got a job with a decent local firm, with a specialty in adaptive reuse, and was slotted in as designer. After a rough shakedown period with the a psycho bigot nazi boss, I found my legs and designed some great things for my city. And some mediocre things, as one must to pay the bills.
Eventually, several of us split off. And since archtiects ARE COMPLETELY WITHOUT EGO ISSUES, the three of us couldn’t work together.
fuck, I don’t need to get off into digression here. But what I want to say is that I have designed things all over this fair city, and have won several awards for my work, both for the nazi sumbitch and on my own.
And after 8 years of Republican governance and hideous malpractice by our financial Masters, found that my career was stagnant. I laid off my last couple of folks, reviewed my debt load, considered the rope, and made contacts with the people in the industry.
Yeah. right. Everybody was laying off, not hiring, especially not an older guy with tons of experience. I had friends who have been seeing year-over-year 10% salary reductions, massive layoffs, and in one particular case, a 50% reduction in salary.
If I didn’t have that business debt, it would be fucking funny. OK, maybe not so much.
There used to be a cliche in the business, that an architect’s career doesn’t start until he’s forty. Well, here I am, and it appears that my career will be ending at fifty.
Yeah, we’re doing OK. Mainly because my wife is better at making life choices than I am. Our house is paid off. Our son is nearly seventeen and hasn’t gotten anyone pregnant. The dog has stopped farting (for the most part).
Yeah, I got an iPhone. And an iPad. And yeah, my (laughable) business pays for ’em. For now.
We are not in danger of foreclosure, or missing meals, or having our cars repossessed. I fully recognize that there are millions more people not as fortunate.
And that’s the issue, innnit?
Much of the design work I have done in the past few years has been financed through Title 42 (and to some extent, Historic Preservation) tax credits; part of that is requirement that the residential provided be rented to working folks within a certain range, and the maximum rent is also controlled to make it affordable for them. It’s an effective program, a public-private effort.
Yesterday, we had a ribbon cutting for a project, this one (for those paying attention):
At the ceremony, one of the tenants spoke. It’s not the first time that a tenant has spoken at one of these dedication events; and when they do, I am reminded that however much my career is sucking wind, it still is contributing to making the lives of the 99 better.
In a better America, we would be doing projects like this as a matter of course. We would be building things that benefit our citizens, at every turn, new housing, new schools, new infill projects, new infrastructure.
Not new wars.
Yeah, in a better America.
Well, we’re doing OK and my constant whinnng about my career is maybe not the most overwhelming part of teh OWS protests. My crappy little operation doesn’t matter, live or die.
But for good or ill, my career has been oriented toward low to middle class urban dwellers, and those seem to be dying out, due almost entirely to the arrogance and malfeasance of the financial institutions and malfeasance and corporate knob-gobbling by our “democratic” institutions. But I know how to repair our urban environments; I know how to make the suburbs work better. My work has, without fail, improved its communities.
I always wanted to use my talents and training to improve our built environment, in particular with urban infill projects but also raising the bar for suburban and exurban development; and I have, to some extent.
But it seems those opportunites are dwindling, never to return. And the blame lays squarely against those fuckers on Wall street, drinking their champagne on teh streets above the protesters, or the ones in Chicago with their fucking window signs. Yes, you , the 1% and the Masters of the Universe.
But we are coming for you. We are the 99%.
And between myself and a few other people, we know how to bring your buildings down.
You fuckers should have jumped. We are the 99%.