Because I’m superstitious, I tip better than custom dictates. I factor in how long I occupied the booth at my favorite diner and tack on a bonus for keeping others from sitting in my spot even if there was no one waiting. If the bill is particularly small, my baseline 20% has been known to bump up to 50%.
I come at this from all the woo woo proclamations of abundance, thinking if I give a little extra maybe I’m upping my chances for good karma. Yes, I know that’s contrary to the concept of giving without expecting return. Yes, I know. But still. It’s like all those people who attach disclaimers to the chain letters they forward. They know it’s wrong but they keep doing it. At least those who wait on me in restaurants benefit from my neurosis.
And then there's my guilt of not needing to stand in a breadline, which prompts further generosity. While I currently wear the label of ‘Increasingly Downwardly Mobile,’ I still have it better than most. I have options, the freedom to chase dreams, the knowledge that when push comes to shove, I can plunk down a credit card and deal with it later. Luckily, at this point, later is usually just when the credit card bill arrives. I really don’t live beyond my means.
But all the muttering of financial fear is chipping away at my notion of security. It helps when I think of friends living with enormous debt and rationalize that if they can stay afloat so can I. But that’s insensitive and naïve of me. We can all sink together. But to get philosophical, if everyone sinks, is it still sinking? How about, ‘Sinking is the new normal’?
Trying to live freelance in a panicked economy is comical. Can I really go forward and promote a new photography business designed to supplement my pittance of earnings as a writer? I don’t even believe my sales pitches of why it is critical that I take your holiday card photo. (Holiday cards…yeah, right. Have you seen the price of postage and ink and paper and pens??)
But I also must discuss those whining about the economy who have such an abundance of cash and resources that the only way their daily lives are being affected by this downturn is in their conversations and the fluctuation of their heart rate when they open their investment statements. They can still afford every dream they’ve ever had. They have not even come close to being knocked down to normal, but many of them are the ones complaining the loudest. Am I really to believe that those with millions in the bank can’t afford Christmas this year? I’m no economist (obviously) but I simply want to holler at those crying poor who are anything but.
It is the charities that these often generous folks give to that I pity. They’re the real losers as philanthropists see their resources shrink and thus must pull back on giving. And of course I think of the trickle down effect, of the employees of struggling corporations, those facing all the layoffs.
But if you’re one of the ones with excess money in the bank (my definition of ‘excess,’ not yours; my blog, my rules) go out and do some spending. Help that small business or even that large one with a long list of employees. Fuel this ailing economy. Consider it your call to duty.
And if you need some photos…