Follow The Republic:
I did not expect it. Although as I look back, I now see that I could have seen it coming. Like a hurricane, its path could be forecast, although its timing and intensity were surprises.
Yes, we are downsizing once again. The Marcus household has been through this before. But this time … this time it seems the cuts are coming closer to the bone.
Downsizing happens in many households for many reasons: The children leave home and the house is too big; the couple splits and the pain of the emotional separation is matched by the mayhem of dividing property. Aging changes perceptions of what is necessary and a lifetime of stuff is re-examined.
I had thought all was secure for another decade. Then in a real estate blitz, a house was seen, a proposal made, a counter-proposal entered and the deal was done. Enthusiasm hardly had a chance to melt into doubt before a schedule of displacement was proclaimed.
What does down-sizing mean? It does not mean equality of sacrifice. If one third of all goods must go, the solution is quickly found. One half of his material possessions and one quarter of hers become expendable.
This is a sound formula, not a sexist joke. After all, her “possessions” are more likely the ones that make the household a functional unit. Few men would claim the Mixmaster as part of their domain, yet a house is not a home if pancakes cannot be prepared expeditiously.
Right now I have made ready to release to the recycle bin items that I have not examined in the past 10 years. Most of these are documents in unopened boxes that have collected nothing but dust.
Others are books that are as valid today as when written in the 1960s and ’70s. Sadly, the problems of urban areas, as detailed so well 50 or so years ago, are still with us. Transit, income distribution, housing, education, finance, taxation, infrastructure neglect and deterioration, race, youth unemployment, crime and an aging population are still the salient issues they were in the past.
The ideas for resolving problems of our cities have not changed much. There is more talk of privatization today, but no evidence it actually adds anything to the discussion. Technology has evolved to heighten our awareness of some issues but has not offered substantive solutions to our long-lasting concerns.
So the stacks of boxes and the piles of books for discard grow as the inevitable downsizing continues. The entire process has the potential for emotional drama as when I clasp my head and proclaim I am giving up portions of my soul to reduce the number of square feet eligible for dusting.
But I resist the temptations of such moments.
After all, am I not a consenting adult who has endorsed this transfer from one house to another? Did I not sign the documents?
Yet, I must wonder, where was my head?
Morton Marcus is an independent economist, writer and speaker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
Note: All comments left on our sites are first reviewed by an automated comment moderation system. Your comment may take up to 5 minutes to appear. If for any reason your comment can not be approved you will receive an email from this system with a detailed explanation.
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.