Pluto In Capricorn And The Expanding Black Market: Tale Of Two Husbands

Vivian and I rooted for each other but from a distance because when you are in a whirlwind, sort of vortex it takes everything you have. You just can’t get too near another person’s whirlwind vortex or you’ll get sucked up but you can connect via the eyes so this is what we did and time passed the way it does.

Eventually the soldier moved here and Vivian and I had more in common than ever. We were both with men we loved, who we met when we were teenagers. Both men were ultra-masculine and devoted to their families and while neither of our daughters were healed things had calmed dramatically. We had a few months like that and then Vivian told me her husband had lost his job.

“What?” I asked.

She seemed completely shocked and for good reason. Turns out her husband had been working at his job for about 20 years. Matter of fact it was the only job he had ever had in his life. They called him in on a Friday and told him they could no longer afford to pay him. He was simply making too much money.

Apparently the owner of the company who they considered a personal friend after all these years slipped out the back and had an assistant do the laying off.

“He knows he’s got a family,” Vivian said. “That’s where we get our health insurance. He knows our daughter is sick, if he was going to lay him off, the least he could have done is looked him in the face after all these years.”

I agreed.

“And the night before, Thursday night I had to take my daughter to the hospital again so at least that will be covered. I have no idea what we’re going to do. There is no way we can pay for her health care without insurance, never mind without a paycheck…

Ironically, the soldier had also been laid off that week as well. He was working as a machinist and the shop where he worked closed it doors without a day’s warning. Vivian and I just stared at each other.

A month later the soldier determined there would be no machining job for him. It’s was not due lack of skill or talent. He had own shop for 8 years and managed another for 3. Further, he’s a genius but the fact is, he is older (people think you are stupid), he is ex-military (people think you are stupid) and he has a southern accent (people think you are stupid).

The soldier is understated. He is not inclined to boast or sell himself so this combined with the fact manufacturing had collapsed (1 year ago there was a job a day on offer, currently one comes up every couple weeks) sent him back into truck driving.

While this was no one’s first pick by the time he arrived at this, it seemed okay because he was going flat out crazy cooped up at home with no work. He’s just not cut out to be idle so that was that, he went back on the road but Vivian’s husband took another path.

He applied for and got unemployment. Vivian was shocked at how high the award was. She also applied for food stamps and again she was shocked at how much they gave her. She was stunned and relieved.

Her husband looked for work but found none. He was however working at odd jobs because men like this? Well they just don’t know how to not work.

Five months has passed and Vivian’s husband is still not working. I don’t think he’s looking anymore because he seems to be doing pretty well collecting unemployment, getting food stamps and working on the side. I suppose he’d take a job if he could find one that paid what his old one did and offered health insurance but jobs like that are hard to find… make that impossible to find when you’re not looking and why would he look?

Why look for a job when you are making more money without a job? There is really no incentive at all for Vivian’s husband to look for a job until and unless he runs out of unemployment which I think is a year out and will probably be extended so what does this mean?

It means that Vivian’s husband helps to put the legitimate business he used to work for out of business by offering the services they provide at a cheaper rate on the black market. So where do you think this will lead?


Anyone?

Update – One Year Later

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Comments

Pluto In Capricorn And The Expanding Black Market: Tale Of Two Husbands — 11 Comments

  1. Here’s a view: the system of making work to make money had a big flaw in the origin. It’s one thing to be doing work that maintains its value as a service someone really needs while also caring for the people doing the work. The incentive to make some of value lay in the give and take of a mutually supportive relationship. If, as I believe has happened with the work and compensation systems in this country, the making of ‘stuff’ for the sake of making becomes MORE IMPORTANT than the value of the maker/worker…the flaw gets bigger. The Boss has a layer between him/her and the maker/worker. The stuff has lost its value, and in my view is that legitimate?

    The Black Market is one way to define ‘side jobs’. I consider them a side angle reconnect between one person’s need for a service directly from the worker/maker. Cash and carry it out. Unemployment and Food Stamps are part of the old system, charity? Not really, although it can be and then there are other problems. When does a hand up get too heavy, or part of that vortex?

    I hope it leads to revamping the practical and daily re-eVALUATING of what goods are really necessary and how do maker/workers get what is needed to maintain the revamped definition of “legitimate.”

  2. Wow, incredible.

    Not sure where it will lead, but if it starts happening more and more, it’s going to be each to his own. Hopefully it wouldn’t go to far in that direction, perhaps Vivian’s husband could hook up with some others and build own business.

  3. i know someone in similar circumstance. he’s been out of work for many months and still looking (and not making more via alternative routes), but they are doing whatever they can to support their family.

  4. I say if this is a country where you are on your own (you are), and you are not supposed to “look for handouts” (you know, like food for your family), and you are supposed to take care of yourself, well, that is what he is doing. If his family is doing well right now, they are his priority, most especially his sick child. I see it as a man doing what he has to do, and I wish this family the best of luck.

  5. Except that sometimes the “legitimate” businesses are actually in the business of profiting off of other people’s work without bringing any value to the situation. This situation has been growing and growing for a long time now, like a blister, and it was only matter of time before it popped.

    Maybe his side business will become something bigger and more valuable in the long run. But I believe that these ‘side jobs’ that many people see as bad because they are outside of the system are just things going back to the way things used to be.

    Think of it this way, money is just a concept. A bill only has the value that we all agree that it has. But money as is supposed to be a tool we can use to exchange value. When we get to the point where this tool is used to oppress and control us, should we not find our way out of that system? We have to get out from under it and deal with the inconvience as best we can.

  6. We just found out a little earlier today that the very cool old farm house we’ve just moved into had been sold. The deal was done and in the process of being finalized when the company that bought it went bankrupt. The owners told us they were a bit relieved because they love the place and still use part of the property. The current economic decline is having an oddly positive effect for my family.

    I’m not sure where it’s all going out but I’m following this story with great interest.

  7. Hmmm … I wonder where insurance fits in. I would think it would be very costly for them not to have insurance, but also very costly to try to buy it individually.

  8. Here in the UK if you’ve been self employed and paid every penny of taxes and NI contributions,and then thanks to this tough economic phase, you just have no work or income,well, you get not a penny, but if an asylum seeker arrives, they get all possible benefits. I don’t grudge anyone anything, but somehow, our system doesn’t balance out. My husband, like the soldier, just keeps on keeping on adapting and taking on whatever he finds to keep him busy.. and I’m so proud of him. We do have a national health service here, though.. oh and yes, the sun just came out to shine through the frost and winter snow right now, so there’s something to smile about!

  9. Now I see where this series was going with the whole black market thing. It looks like Pluto in Capricorn is bringing real consequences to the public and exposing the shadows of our systems that have some genuinely abstract foundations. These systems are dying where the foundations are too weak. Just as you have been telling us Elsa!

  10. Well, the way healthcare is run, has too much greed, and insurance companies have helped with that. As for these men needing to work, I can see that, but why is a paid job treated as the ONLY way one can spend one’s time and energy? Most jobs contribute towards authoritarian systems that don’t actually allow for people to do well, lest there be someone in that chain that be oppressed.

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