I've noticed an odd trend the past few weeks; an unusual number of co-workers have mentioned that they're having trouble sleeping. "Well", I ask. "Is anything bothering you?" The answer is always the same: "No, not that I can think of."
These people have seen their work schedule cut back from 60 hours per week to only 24. Many companies in our manufacturing field have shut their doors entirely. Money is tight. The election looms, and everyone seems to dislike both candidates. The stock market is dropping like a rock, dragging their retirement savings down with it. Gas prices keep rising. Many people commute 20-30 miles one way to work. The water in our lakes and rivers is at record high levels, and the rains keep coming. We've been through a tornado, floods, an ice storm, and a snow storm since Christmas. It's no wonder these people are tossing and turning, although they'd never admit to such a thing as "worry".
This coming week is our annual summer shutdown week. We have two paid shutdowns a year; one at Christmas and one the week of the Fourth. Usually, we all take advantage of the time off by traveling. This year, just about everybody is staying close to home. Most people are picking up whatever extra work they can. Mortgage payments are coming due, and their kids need school clothes.
Ozarkers are a tough, resilient bunch. Our Scots-Irish/English ancestors who settled this land (with no air-conditioning!) bequeathed to us a positive attitude and a deep faith in our own abilities. It's a great place to ride out these uncertain times.
Is anyone else feeling the pinch?