Que Sera, Sera

Greece is rebelling in the streets and the halls of government.
Spaniards are following suit in the streets – government’s not onboard but it may not matter.
The Euro is tottering and NATO is a lot shakier than it wants to admit (it’s in denial).
Sanctions are failing. Banksters fear jailing – or poverty or the guillotine.
Control is slipping here at home – it’s desperation that’s making the PTB escalate repression.

Times, they are a-changin’


   In the late ’50s, I was serving in the USAF, stationed in Japan. One of the perks of that duty was that tailoring was very cheap. A custom-made suit, cashmere sport coat or overcoat cost about $40. Shortly before returning stateside, I ordered a suit made of grey Italian Silk. I was told by the tailor that this was unheard of – the material was only used for lining women’s coats. I insisted.

   I came back via San Francisco and spent a couple of weeks sightseeing. Several times I wore the suit to fashionable restaurants and once to the opera and often received compliments on it and interest in the unfamiliar material. I didn’t think much about until about a year or so later, when I had come to NYC. Suddenly, Italian Silk was all the rage for men’s and women’s suits & dresses. And the trend had started with a designer in San Francisco. I idly wondered if maybe I hadn’t started the fashion, but I shrugged and went on with my life.

   Being single and well-paid, I dined out in good restaurants once or twice a day, from Greenwich Village to the Upper East Side and Upper West Side and downtown Brooklyn. I walked all over Manhattan, from the Battery to Harlem, river to river, seeking out small restaurants rather then the flashy expensive midtown ones I frequented for lunch. I found places without a large clientele and probably for that reason the management was always very inviting and pleasant. I enjoyed the quiet and would often linger a couple of hours after dining; drinking coffee and cognac and writing. This was fine with the owners, who knew I would quickly vacate if the place suddenly got busy, which happened now and then.

   After patronizing these places for awhile, I began to notice their business was picking up considerably. I had not been doing anything – not recommending them to friends or co-workers and I wasn’t dating much at the time. I couldn’t figure out how all these nice, quiet little places kept getting ‘discovered’. I rather resnted having to keep searching for new places.

   At the time, I worked for IBM as a Systems Engineer in the mid ’60s, I was doing a sort of work that had never been done much before. About 12-15 of us – mostly IBMers – invented the profession which later came to be called Systems Programming.

   We were ahead of our time, creating new techniques, establishing practices and methodologies that would become standards for the Data Processing (aka IT) industry.

   In 1970, I moved upstate and needed a 4×4 (very rural location). At the time, the common such vehicle was a Jeep. I bought a Subaru, to a lot of skepticism and some ridicule.

   I could say that my judgment was borne out, as Subaru began to get major sales growth in following years.

   One day, when I had nothing better to do, I said to myself, “Self”, I said, “how come you seem to be habitually discovering things, getting into things a year or two or three before everyone else?”. I didn’t invent Italian Silk or intimate Armenian restaurants or Subaru – I just seemed to recognize and appreciate them ahead of the general public. I found myslf a bellwether and began to wonder how. I decided that it wasn’t because I was able to see the future better than others or had some special talent that let me predict reliably. It was just a matter of personal taste, and mine – through no effort or action on my part – seemed to be ahead of the curve.

   I grew up too young for Korea and too old for ‘Nam, too young for the Beatniks and too old for the Flower Children, an ‘in between’ generation. In addition, I’d been pretty much a loner growing up.

   All this left me somewhat less influenced by mainstream culture, forced to find my own values and interests, looking at the world with less prejudgment, less locked to the ‘here and now’ and thus more open to different experiences, able to follow whatever I thought interesting.

   The world changes: fashions come and go in art and music and dress and lifestyle. If there was something ‘out there’ that I noticed and latched onto, it was only a matter of time until others noticed it. (By which time I had usually moved on to something new).

   I also noticed that there were times in my life when I could sense oncoming changes – not so much what the changes would be, but that a change was on the horizon. Perhaps atypically, I didn’t spend much time trying to figure out what was going to happen. I just acknowledged the feeling and went on with my life. Later, I always felt a sense of comfort on settling into a new ‘life configuration’, a sense of satisfaction, as though I’d been there before and it all seemed familiar.
Deja vu without the deja.

   Getting that feeling again, and this time it’s got a ‘nervous’ undertone, as if whatever is coming down the pike is a bit more of a change than usual and maybe not all as ‘user-friendly’ as in the past. I don’t have any idea where I’ll be a year from now, but have no doubt it will be somewhere else, living quite differently. Wherever, whatever, however it turns out, the rest of the country is likely to follow in a couple of years. Just sayin’…

2 Replies to “Que Sera, Sera”

  1. Right on Partner…, Write on…,

    Took me a while to find the Facebook link :)…, but here’s the comment I shared there, “The Agonist: thoughtful, global, timely‚Äč blog has been one of my favorites for many years…, started writing there before I got my own blog started. There are some changes going on there now…, and this guy (steeleweed) is…, and has been…, one of the key drivers along the way. Ya all ought to hop in and enjoy the ride. Not sure where we are going…, or when we will get there…, but it ought to be fun.

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