June 18, 2009


Nestled in a corner banquette are Senam, 25, and his friend Khushbu, 24. Senam’s dressed in cashmere and khakis, not a pore in sight. Khushbu’s all in black, fondling a BlackBerry. He’s in architecture, she’s a lawyer. Both sip white wine and seem happy to confide in a fleece-clad interloper.

“I was laid off last week,” says Senam, stretching like a happy feline. He grins and drinks. “Looks like it’s time for a vacation to Puerto Rico!” He smiles even more broadly now, revealing a perfect set of exceptionally white teeth. Khushbu giggles, smoothes her long black hair. “I lost my job a month ago,” she says calmly. “Here’s to the economy!” They clink glasses. . . . Cara, a 25 year old with a background in international relations and journalism — who is also currently unemployed — is equally unfazed. “The economy better pick up soon!” she says, laughing. “But if it doesn’t, well, I’ll just have to try [looking for work] longer.” She shrugs and goes back to her drink. “I think the economy is just making people spend smarter,” adds Beth, who works in the restaurant industry. “Maybe I won’t go out to eat at a mediocre restaurant or spend a lot of money just going out for a beer. If I spend money, I want it to be amazing.”

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