Lorne Gunter, loudmouth columnist with the National Toast, flagship of the soon to be defunct CanWest media circus, has written a piece on how to enjoy life on a lot less during this recession. I wonder if Grunter's been pondering his own future:
If we're not eating out as much, perhaps we're eating home more often, maybe even as families.
Sure you can talk together as a family over some spinach and artichoke dip and a thin-crust, brick-oven pizza at a restaurant. But without all the noise and clatter and would-you-like-fresh-ground-pepper-with-that interruptions, you might chat together even more.
You might have to dust off your playing cards and board games rather than hurrying to stand in line at the neighbourhood megaplex to see a movie no one is really happy to see, but which everyone has compromised on. (I make way better popcorn than those high school concession workers at the theatre, anyway.)
Maybe your vacation this summer will involve driving your van further than the airport park-and-ride. Maybe it will involve camping at a nearby provincial park or setting up in your cousins' backyard (provided the cousins don't object, mind you). You may have to be more Clark Griswold than Paris Hilton when planning your summer getaway.
My parents saved up for three or four years for good road-trip vacations --Expo '67, Disneyland--but in between we made do with sites closer to home. The vacation we still talk about the most was the camping trip to Saskatchewan's 1971 Homecoming. We have more funny, shared stories from that summer than any other.
Read a book. Read a newspaper (please, read a newspaper). Invite the next door neighbours over for burgers on the deck. Go for a walk instead of a workout. Rediscover the joy and excitement in conversation.
Relearning to appreciate the simple things -- playing with the box prosperity came in -- can be the silver lining in austere times.
Good advice for anyone facing the pinch in this recession, from a guy who should know.