What a way to start a beautiful autumn. The trees are already beginning to change color. However, a week or so ago, Wall Street blew itself up with the selling of subprime mortgage contracts, according to outside financial experts. The election in November may feel the effects of this crisis. You and I are on Main Street, as everyone now refers to the general public. The vocabulary of the economic crisis comes into play at this time.
We hear the seriousness of our future in the words of our leading politicians: "desperate crisis" and "Wall Street bailout." But others, trying to calm the rage of the American public, call the uproar a "kerfuffle." I recognize the word, but we had to find it in a dictionary, where the definition was "a disturbance or a fuss."
Certainly the word "debacle" creates a more honest description of our present crisis. I perceive a decided toning down of any optimistic prognosis of the future. Another word some journalists use is "brouhaha," which is familiar to me and to my former students in our study of vocabulary. Yet I feel that it, too, doesn't describe the very dramatic economic freefall we will have to deal with now and in the next year and more.
What I need is a very clear accounting of what has happened to our economy. Will I walk on Main Street and see evidence of the greed and incompetence our president and most of our leaders are alluding to? If so, it behooves every small or large town to put their best brains to the task of helping the ordinary citizen understand and plan for a difficult time ahead. It's hard to believe that we are about to enter the holiday season.
Most importantly, we must watch and evaluate the debates between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. Both men must be suffering sleepless nights knowing that whoever becomes president will inherit this mess. My greatest hope is the endless diatribes against each other will come to a screeching halt. Gentlemen, this is no "kerfuffle," nor is it fodder for "Saturday Night Live."
October ends with Halloween. The stores are already stocked with ghosts, skeletons, red devils and other grim delights. What a shame if our kids find out that there's not too much fun for trick-or-treaters. The smart entrepreneur should rush out and make masks with the faces of the CEOs of Wall Street.
There are closer prospects of crunches if the option to agree to Pilgrim Haven's elaborate construction plans passes. I have had a taste of construction on Pine Lane, where a new house will eventually arise two doors down after months of huge cement trucks, dirt haulers and pickup trucks park on our street, holding up traffic as well as creating the dangers of safely backing out of our own driveway. Every morning Howard stands guard as I try to make it out with no damage to myself or my car. Imagine what three or more years of construction at Pilgrim Haven will do to our neighborhood, to our schoolchildren and to the atmosphere absorbing drifting pollution. What will happen to the real estate values of the houses in the neighborhood?
I need a stronger word than kerfuffle to express my concerns. Fall colors may help calm my anxieties. That's my optimistic nature coming through.Charlotte Kaye Jarmy is a Los Altos resident and longtime contributor to the Town Crier.