Sunday, April 17, 2011


baroque [Fr, orig., "irregular"]

This is the "baroquest" I've been since 1996! When I got up today, I had exactly $2.58 in the bank and $10 in my wallet, plus a margarine container of pennies, nickels, and dimes. Oh, and a laundry-quarters "stash" of...$1.

I've got two freelance checks overdue. Each should have arrived last week, but for the fuck-ups of the companies. (I was so frustrated and mad about one delay that I finally actually cc'd the president of one company with my e-mail tirade. While I'd been getting the runaround from a lowly staff member, the president himself apologized profusely and took the blame and said he'd have the check mailed out last Thursday. That's the sign of leadership -- he didn't bullshit, he just thanked me for my "being a member of the team," said he was sorry, and said that he'd take care of the matter immediately. As opposed to the lower-level people trying to cover their asses. That said, no one there will probably ever offer me work again, but at this point, I honestly don't give a shit.)

I'm so sick of being a victim of pure incompetence. For some reason, I kept thinking of the scene in "Terms of Endearment" when Shirley MacLaine loses it when the nurse is late giving her daughter her pain medication. Paraphrasing: "All she had to do was wait until 1pm! It's 15 minutes after 1! Where are her pills?! GIVE MY DAUGHTER HER PILLS!!!!" I felt that I'd had to wait the 60 days for the check. Then I was told it was the Friday AFTER the 60 days. I was still patient at that point. But then this past Wednesday I got the message that, oops, the check wasn't mailed out Friday the 8th as it should have been. THAT is when I went all Shirley MacLaine on everyone's ass.

All that said: I jumped out of bed Saturday morn, yes more-than-half expecting to have two different checks in my mailbox (aside from the above, there was another check from another company also nearly a week late) and worrying primarily about how quickly I could get to the bank before it closed at 1pm... ZIP. Mailbox empty.

My dilemma: I had 4 cigarettes left, and 4 beers. Hardly enough to get me through the rest of the weekend before Monday's mail! So I counted out the 10 dollar bills in my wallet. Set aside 2 of them to pay the bus fare to the bank on Monday (when I'm ASSUMING one or two checks will arrive). Raided my 4-quarter laundry stash, and the margarine container of change (putting the dimes and nickels from the latter in a plastic baggie for neatness' sake). Ultimately scrounged up an even $13 to spend on beer and smokes. At the corner store, had to ask the counter-guy beforehand exactly how much a 6-pack of Bud and one pack of cigs would be: $12.99. Yes! My $13 covered it!

Jesus Christ. What am I, 19 years old? Apparently I am, financially! Unable to even come up with timely rent at a one-room place where mainly 19-year-olds (and older slackers) live, and scrounging for change to buy beer and cigs to make my Saturday night! While the checks-delay wasn't my fault, I feel that being so reliant on the arrival of $1000 IS my fault. A 45-year-old shouldn't be so beholden to random companies (and have so nothing in savings) that their incompetence creates such personal havoc.

I need to get my act together, obviously. I'm not 19 any more. While neither parent rescued me financially when I actually was 19, I cannot, at 45, now try to re-enact a 19-year-old self begging for my mother's help. Lost psychically as I may now feel, the fact remains: I'm a grown 45-year-old woman who should be paying her own way. BUCK UP (so to speak!).

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