Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Here, There and Everywhere

So, we did pay the electric bill after all. That and October rent. Nothing else, though. We need the money for transportation, food and medicine.

There is the food shelf, but we're only allowed to go once a month. Actually, Spouse has been the one to go. She told them I wouldn't be showing up and so I'm not on the card to collect anything. That's fine with Spouse. I'm less inclined to come home with things we would not have purchased on our own. Spouse's attitude is those things are there for us to take. I don't suppose there is anything wrong with either of our approaches. But they are different, and we have discussed the matter. Which is why, I think, Spouse didn't include me on the list of people allowed to collect food for our household.

But we never bought dinner rolls, so why should we bring dinner rolls home from the food shelf? Why not leave them there for people who actually used to buy dinner rolls but no longer can? Same with pudding mixes. We hardly ever had pudding. Why should we be taking it just because it's free? I don't even do that in the grocery store when they are giving out free samples. If it isn't something I would normally buy I don't take it. (Although taking a sample does not mean I am going to buy that trip.)

It's a bit of a moral dilemma for me. After all, Son has to eat. I don't really have to eat anymore. All that weight I lost? It's back again. All of it, I think. Haven't stepped on the scale since early August. It still amazes me how fat poor people can get. When I had money I wasn't fat. The less money I've had the fatter I've become. The only exception to this rule was when I used to eat out at the Chinese buffet three times a week. Good food. Lots of weight.

But when I had money I ate more often, and weighed less. That's part of the equation. By eating more frequently one is less hungry when one eats and so one takes smaller portions. Only eating once or twice a day means one is quite ravenous and eats everything they can stuff in their mouth.

Another part of the equation is that a bag of chips lasts longer than an apple and costs about a quarter less. So, for less than the price of two apples, which would leave me hungry, I can eat two bags of chips, which leaves me filled - with garbage food and guilt. Probably not a good trade, but one I've been making on a regular basis.

Medicine wise I'm not sure what's going to happen. We're still buying my medicines, but the prescriptions for at least two of them are running out, and I can't afford to go back to the doctors for a checkup in order to get them renewed. One of those is for my heart and the other is for blood pressure. My diabetic medicine lasts a bit longer, but I can't afford to see the doctor, much less have more blood work done. (I was supposed to go in two months ago, but the money just isn't there to spend.) It still annoys me when I hear politicians cry that my NOT going to the doctor is costing THEM money. How? "Well, you're just getting sicker. And then you'll go to the doctor and can't pay." No, I won't. I don't live that way. If I can't pay for insurance and I can't pay for the doctor/dentist, I don't go. Lost a filling two weeks ago. God knows when I'll be able to afford to get it fixed. Once went two years with broken teeth before I could afford to get them fixed. If I can't pay for the medical help then I am content to die. It's just the way it is.

I have applied for work. Didn't get a job though. The jobs I've applied for are like being served lima beans for supper. It is possible to swallow them without vomiting, but it takes a lot of willpower. And lima beans are better than starvation. I think.

I remember watching this show on television a year ago. Don't remember the name. It was on public television (we don't have cable or dish). The show was put on by retired people for retired people. They would have famous/successful people over the age of seventy come and talk about what life was like now that they were senior citizens. Ed Asner was on once, but it was a woman (who's name I have forgotten) who left the impression on me. She was an author, apparently famous. (My not knowing her means nothing. I would be hard pressed to name ten authors.) She was talking about the physical problems which often come with being older and how she was discussing this topic with a man about her age. The man had made a very well-known jest: "Being old sucks, but just think of the alternative." And then she said something I cannot forget. "But what no one likes to admit out loud is this: There are days, like today, when the alternative doesn't seem so bad."

I was fascinated by her comment because it went against everything we're told to believe and feel. To be accepted we must "feel certain ways about certain things", and get joy out of the things we're supposed to get joy out of. Admitting to misery is a BIG no-no. No one is supposed to be miserable, even though it seems to me that so many are. Even those who still have money.

But misery is like a blemish on our skin. We can cover it up with makeup, hiding it from the world around us, but we know it's there. It's part of us, and we can't really escape it. One needn't "show it off" like a prize, which it seems I tend to do. But I think we need to admit it when we're unhappy about things. And I mean really unhappy and not just joking about how the kids, co-workers, spouse are driving us nuts. That's not misery. That's being annoyed.

Some things we're unhappy about are quite temporary. They are soon replaced by a joy which washes away the bad feelings. Other things last longer. Months, or even years. And still other things are permanent.

These things are part of all of our lives, and admitting them doesn't mean that's all our lives are about, even if that's all we seem to talk/write about.

I don't like it where I am, but mostly my circumstances can be directly attributed to decisions I have made myself. Cause and effect, you know? Sowing and reaping. I don't like it that I'm in an apartment instead of my house/home. I don't like it that I can't open the sliding door without letting in a fog of cigarette smoke from the neighbors who ALL smoke heavily. I don't like not being able to buy the food I want to eat. I don't like not being able to repair/replace the things I own. (My favorite pair of outside shorts got so threadbare they tore across the legs when I tugged them up from my knees. Probably just as well. If they were that threadbare they were probably not covering as well as they should. Not a pretty picture, I'm sure.)

But my life is more than that.

True, I can't get anyone to pay me so much as a nickel for anything I write, but I'm still writing. And I enjoy the stories, even when I'm struggling to get them out. Son is still able to play his music. (I am not. My bass is upset the people downstairs and so I have to quit.) I have online friends - some who visit this blog - who are so precious to me I could almost burst. Face-to-face, maybe they would all avoid me, but online we get along great, and I'm still searching for a way to use words in order to give hugs filled with love.

I am alive, which means I still have a purpose. Unfortunately, I don't know what that purpose is. I've tried and failed at so many things these past seven years I can honestly say without reservation that I'm tired of trying.

But it isn't all misery, even if I'm mostly unhappy right now. Things change, albeit sometimes with incredible slowness.

If I could have my way I would make others happy without bringing suffering to myself. I just don't seem to be very good at that right now.

No matter.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hot and Muggy After a Cold Summer

In keeping with my emotional need to post here whenever I post on The Great Sea I am posting today because I actually did post on The Great Sea. How's that for babbling? I'm not as good at it as some, but I'm certainly no novice.

Well, we won't be paying any bills now except for rent, transportation, and food. A pity. When the electricity is cut off so will be my computer time. That not only means internet access, which I'm using to help write my new book, but it means a lot of other things as well.

Got a couple of leads on ways to generate income, but I'm not hopeful. Nothing much works out anymore and I'm pretty much just biding my time now until I learn exactly what's at the bottom anyway. I still find it amusing (used to find it amazing) that with our income down to only 15% of what it once was, we still can't get any assistance from anyone. Excel Energy says they won't work with us until we miss a payment (at which time they will threaten to shut the power off). Well, that's now, so I guess we'll see how that plays out. Same with the other utilities. County help? State help? Forget it. Good ole Governor Pawlenty has cut funds for all social services to the point I'm surprised anyone gets anything. Right now he's running around the country trying to convince Republicans everywhere that he would make a great president. He will - if what you want is a yes man who does everything in his power to undo all progress this country has made in the past 200+ years. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes it. He's a horrible choice and the Republicans seem to have turned in that direction of late.

Anyway, I'm sorry to report there isn't a lot of good news to report. Son is still proceeding with his saxophone lessons. There was short, and unfortunate, disagreement about that, but previous promises were brought to recollection and the money which was earmarked for Son remains so. For now. As the financial threat levels increase so does the pressure to abandon old promises.

Could go silent again. If I do it's likely because we don't have electricity to run the computer. I must be nuts, because I still believe things are going to get better. Not just for the country, but for us, too. We'll see. I'll keep you posted if I can.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Elastic is Gone From My Waistband

Posted on The Great Sea so I thought I should post here, too.

I've nothing to say, actually. Except, perhaps, that I never should have let myself expect anything. That was my mistake. I knew better. After all these years of living and feeling and experiencing, I knew better than to have expectations. But I did it anyway. And once again, my own expectations have cheated me.

It gets to be tiring. Not just reading more of my self-pitying crap, but never getting what I expect - unless it is crap. And as intelligent as I'm supposed to be, why is it I always fall back and believe that things are going to improve - when they never do. Never. Not ever. Not really.

I remember Betty telling me something way back in the 1970s. That's more than thirty years ago now. We (the cooks and waitresses at a then popular Italian restaurant) were trying to come up with one-word descriptions of each staff member. For most it was fairly easy - and comical. We were pretty much friends, and friends can pretty much say anything about and to each other. Real friends can, anyway. What I've seen of late is that people are no longer allowed this freedom and right. Say anything unflattering and you're blasted.

Anyway, no one could come up with a word for me. My suspicion - then and now - is that the words which came to mine were so unflattering they feared to speak them. Even then. But Betty told me she would give it serious thought, and by the end of the night she had a word she felt happy with: Perseverance. Even at the time I didn't feel especially flattered by it. I had been hoping for something like, Funny, Comical, Friendly. Instead, I got, Perseverance.

Well, maybe she was right. I mean, I'm still here, aren't I? Nobody's laughing, but I'm still here.

It's become a weary burden, though. There must be a reason to go on to the next thing, else why go? Why drive to the next town if there's nothing there? If one has no route, then who cares? If you don't know where you're going then why go anywhere? Here's as good as anyplace.

Only the decision isn't all mine. I'm being dragged to places I don't want to go and being forced to stay in places I don't want to be. I know there are others in and heading to worse places. Unfortunately, it doesn't make my life any happier. And that's the simple truth.

Told you I didn't have anything to say.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Is the Loch Ness Monster for Real

Not sure why I'm posting because I haven't anything I feel like writing here.

I guess I just hate to post some place else and leave this blog untouched. It was my first, you know. So if I'm going to write poetry I must also find something to post here. I'll make it up. No matter, right?

Six hundred years ago I used to post more often. A thousand years ago I posted every day. Now I'm just ancient, and can think of nothing to say.

There is a story in the works. I will not say more here. Just to let you know I'm not dead as some might fear.

I seldom visit other blogs anymore, although I do check my reading list often. Interesting how I'm not the only one not posting much. I guess it's contagious.

Hope you all are well.