No Holds Barred: Perceived Alignment

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Every single planet (with the exception of Pluto) is in this panoramic photo of our Solar System from this morning. @wrightdobbs

What I should have paid attention to was that announcement on June 24th of a rare five-planet alignment in the sky.  I did glance up in the predawn sky and caught four of the five — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn … and the moon all in a cosmic row across the horizon.  It was impressive.  Apparently, it has never happened before and won’t again for another 20 years.

I wondered about the significance. Of course later that day the “Supremes” did their giant Roe v. Wade overruling. Instantly we were off and running. As above, so below?

The Krazy Coupon Lady spotted somebody buying up all the Sriracha on the shelves. #SrirachaShaming!

Up until that explosion, I was consumed with how people were going to “ride the slide” of the sagging economy. I have pals saying they stopped buying avocados and beans to pay for their vet bills. And now there is a shortage of peanut butter, along with tampons and Sriracha (no chili peppers).

Hairdressers have to raise prices on their haircuts and colorings at least $15. Some have frozen their rates for their “standing regulars” but are now charging higher for any “newbies.”  Meanwhile people are simply stretching out times between unessential appointments.  Others simply won’t give up on their monthly Botox injections and Mani/Pedis; we all have our particular priorities. Meanwhile, handbags and shoe sales are down across the board.

By the way, price panic is hitting everybody. Even the rich. Whereas a low to middle income person will admit they can’t afford a new car, a wealthy home hunter who put millions down on the table for a small NYC pied-à-terre is now saying to the agent, “Let me think about this…” and pulling the cash back. Perhaps waiting for a later drop in price.

Or how about all those rich double and triple homeowners with places in NYC, Florida, and Montana. Now many are dumping at least one, and in some instances, both of their residences. Mostly because they can’t find the maintenance support staff to keep those houses going when they are gone. No one wants to be household help anymore. Labor is low. There are plenty of jobs. No one wants to “show up.”

Having just finished a minimal house renovation, I can say it took twice as long and twice as much to do it.  Not for lack of materials — nobody wants to paint or do electrical wiring anymore. And we are in a housing boom about to bust. Contractors are overbooked and seriously understaffed. People are now on a three-year wait on building new homes or just adding a small addition.

Meanwhile, outdoor tent sales are skyrocketing. The homeless have established a trend. Pottery Barn has a “glamping” one for all those Hampton/Santa Barbara “coastal grandmas.” A chic off-white canvas tent with a ground sheet at $1299 for your backyard family visitors. It has a teepee “diversity” look to it.  But the homeless will have to hustle as the typical $69 Coleman dome style is going up to $129. It’s even become pricey to live on the street!

Pottery Barn Shelter Co. Canvas Tent. Yours for only $1,299!

On the other hand, people are still seeking a recovery from their Covid exhausted immune systems and punished psyches. For some, money is not an object for feeling good (though actual health care insurance is another story). There are still high-ticket “experiences” to be had in the race to win the hotel Wellness Wars. Popular destination spas and deluxe hiking and biking trips are not enough anymore. Now hotels are coming up with weekend packages that feature “sleep inhalation” rooms and “wellness concierges.”

This has gone way past hotel spa services with stone massages and an anti-aging facial. Now you can have an “immersive experience” (an overused title throughout our culture) of “muscle gurus” for lymph gland boosts. No more just serving lavender blossom tea in the lobby or featuring essential oiled towels in your toilet. You can now order an IV drip sent to your suite with a menu of serums designed to enhance your adrenals or stem cells. Just remember, a mere service charge of $12,000 will be added to your already bloated bill.

Amidst all this high-rising in rates and trends, there was a headline last week that “the Queen is shrinking – fading away before our very eyes. Well, she is 96, and who can blame her for backing off all those non-stop appearances? She looked spectacular on her Jubilee balcony — but of course she is now more stooped than 2 years ago. Aren’t we all?

The queen during her Platinum Jubilee festivities.

The summer of 2022 promises a return of a lot of outdoor concerts and tons of protests. Megaphones will be the hot accessory, maybe upstaging masks! It will be hot and noisy everywhere. Personally, I just learned what STFU means. I kept seeing it on social media everywhere.

Actor Dean Norris criticized Americans complaining about surging gas prices saying, “Anyone who loves capitalism should STFU.” Piers Morgan just told Twitter followers to STFU about Paul McCartney not playing enough Beatles songs in his concert tours. STFU seems to be everyone’s screeching mantra to people with thoughts and ideas which are not of their core “tribe.”

I always thought silence was golden. But nowadays, the act of “listening” to each other is unheard of.

STFU has broken the sound barrier.

What an impasse we have reached.

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