I bought Guy Standing's "The Precariat-The New Dangerous Class" last week,for I am a Precarian myself,living an iffy life on the financial edge in the stodgy and declining suburb of Bellevue,thirteen miles from Nashville's downtown.
My neighbors are precarians as well.
The 83 year old who goes out to work as a courier at three in the morning. The Canadian woman once a ballerina,now a waitress,hoping for a break as a songwriter. She told me a few weeks ago,in a brief parking lot encounter (right after she informed me that Mr Gerald,another neighbor, had been taken back home by his family because of dementia) that she was frightened all the time.
Who is not?
My job at the Little Big House evaporated in January when Tennessee decided to close that pleasant little prison to save money. Now I work at a high end local nursing home as needed,or PRN as we call it in Nurseville. Wednesday Social Security declined to send me my monthly money because I made 1300 hundred dollars more than I should have in 2014. $18,000 dollars,I earned. Three thousand more than I am allowed. This means another trip to the Quick Cash with their 300% interest rate so I do not get tossed from my apartment.
In the 90's when I and many others made a decent living,my suburb of Bellevue had a mall with a Mondi store,a Williams-Sonoma,,a Dillards.
But the mall withered and died,and has been vacant for almost 20 years. In the past two years the Circuit City closed,and a non-denominational church took its place. The ToysRUs gave up last winter,and is being replaced by a Goodwill Superstore with a job training center.
Some people in Bellevue are mortified the we have attracted a Goodwill and not a Nordstrom or a Whole Foods. But what do they expect when Bellevue cannot find enough customers to keep a Sonic open?
The Precariat are us.
Some industry has moved in,however. The Old Age industry. Bellevue is littered with Senior housing,assisted living,Memory Care facililities,regular nursing homes, with NHC opening another big one out near the Loveless Cafe sometime in 2016.
If you do not believe this suburb skews old, show up at Kroger on Senior discount Wednesday- the day Social Security sends out the money. And the people you see,the codgers like me, are the lucky ones, for we are still free to roam,unlike the Caged at the homes I listed,who wear Wanderguards on their ankles to foil escape, and who get their meds crushed and slathered with applesauce three times a day.