9/2/09

broke as no joke

This is sort of riffing on yesterday's blog, and thoughts about what is worth money and what ain't. I don't talk about personal money matters much, but it's on my mind, so be it.

Paycheck to paycheck's been my entire adult life, since I moved out of my folks' houses at 17 and in with my first girlfriend. She, years older than me, liked to buy electronic toys and get credit cards in my name. Let's just say that when I finally left her, three years later and centuries wiser, this poor boy didn't take nothing but a bag of clothes, a box of books, and enough debt for a third world nation.

Between that auspicious beginning and a tendency toward sex, beer, and rock'n'roll and away from academic and professional success, let's just say I'm not rolling in dough. I shuffled from rented room to slum apartment as jobs came and went. I crossed the country for my sister's wedding with nothing but my boots, $20, and a Greyhound ticket. The whole time I lived in Atlanta, I never had car insurance or got my tags renewed. (Marta: it's smarta!)

Eventually, I came home to Tally and got this state job. When I first started in this office, what I was making seemed huge, a god-send, especially when coupled with actual health care. Ten years later, I'm making the same amount, and it ain't shit. I owe my mama. I owe my pops. I owe my sister. I probably owe you. I pay most of my bills most of the time. I don't pay for cable. I do have netflix. Last night, I ate buttered noodles for dinner. My neighbor gave me the noodles when he moved into his new house. I don't get paid for a week and a half. If I had $80, I wouldn't buy Lyle Lovett tickets is what I'm saying. I'd feed my cat, put gas in my car, and get aa badly needed oil change. I'm trying to find a second job for Saturday or Sunday afternoons, but you can guess how that's going in this college town.

This is a whiney post. Like I said, I don't usually discuss this, because it's mostly my own choices that put me on this economic rung, and times is rough all around. But I felt like venting, so there you go.

29 comments:

Steph said...

I hear ya, man. Vent as much as you need. We just did the bankruptcy thing this spring/summer. I didn't much like the idea, but things happened and we got painted into a corner.

Word Verification: worys

heh!

downtown guy said...

I've never had to do the bankruptcy thing - I don't have a lot of debt, I just make no money - but I know it's a bitch. Keep your head up!

Steph said...

I get split reactions in regard to the amount of my debt... 30 thousand... some people (who make and/or owe more money than me) say "oh, that's nothing." My anti-credit parents on the other hand almost swallowed their tongues.

downtown guy said...

Jesus Christ, that's about what I take home in two years.

Steph said...

In CA, when you go to Bankruptcy Court, you listen to other peoples hearings while you wait for yours... one man's income was 12,000 a month! I had to bite my tongue to keep from hollering out, "what the hell are you filing for?!" But I don't know how much he owed. :)

downtown guy said...

I feel that way when my boss complains about money trouble.

May said...

Have you heard about Mama's idea for out in Lloyd? That could be a weekend job.

downtown guy said...

Nope. What is it?

Magnum said...

I know where you're coming from; I've been there and felt the same way. Fortunately, I've finally caught up a bit (still at the mercy of the State's budget though).

Money only comes from one place, other people. And they always want it back. Don't let it bum you out too much though, kick a bit.

DTG, you once said you'd buy me a beer out at St. Mikes and, I'll hold you to it. But then, I'll get you one too. Deal?

downtown guy said...

Sounds good to me, man. That'll be in, uh, January, after I get Xmas money and can go out again. (Okay, maybe not quite that long, if I get a second job.)

Magnum said...

You need to create an arts magazine company (perhaps online) that gets you a press pass to shows.

Worked in the '80s, who knows.

downtown guy said...

Brother, I know that trick. I have run several small music zines, and seldom have to pay for shows anymore (unless it's some huge touring act). It's not the door fee, it's the cost of beer.

Plus, there honestly has not been a show since May that I was the least bit interested in. None of the venues here are booking my bands right now.

Windy Days said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But while you're being all responsible and shit, let the rest of us pitch in and send you to see Lyle.

And then one day when you can say, "Kiss my ass. I bought a boat. I'm going out to sea" you can give us all a ride.

That all seems very to me.

downtown guy said...

If you ever come down to visit, I know where we can find a boat. (Dad's garage.)

Windy Days said...

I'm totally taking you up on that. I can hardly wait to come to your Mama's house!

The Mother Church of the Bat-Shit Crazy - my Mecca:)

Find out about the show. Find out if your Mama has an account.

Did you notice my new header?

downtown guy said...

No, but I am mucho flattered! I'll check up on that stuff and keep ya a seat on the boat.

"Kemo sabe, kiss my ass I bought a boat and I'm going out to sea."

gingermagnolia said...

Man, (lack of) money sucks (especially). Sorry, I commented on the last post before reading here.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

DTG,
I can relate. I spend every dime I make and then some. I have never been a saver, despite my parents being VERY fiscally responsible. It just didn't rub off.

I also have loads of credit card debt. At least you don't have that to contend with. Smart on you.

Sorry you are down.

Love, SB.

downtown guy said...

Thanks, y'all. Like I said, I don't like to bitch about it because I know it's hard all over.

SB: funny you say that about your parents. Neither of mine are good with money, but both my stepparents are GREAT with it.

Ms. Moon said...

And thank God for that. Your father and I would probably be sharing a refrigerator box under the railroad tracks or living in a van down by the river if we didn't have these amazing people we married. And you know, that would really suck.

downtown guy said...

Hard to blog from a cardboard box.

Ms. Moon said...

I'd be spraying my blogs on the side of the RR crossing with spray paint. And then I'd get arrested.
Really, it would just be so bad.
WV: costs

Petit fleur said...

Hey, you do owe me... yea, it was 20 bucks right? Yea, yea, that's it. I wants me 20! hee hee.

It's gonna be alright. I have some extra cat food and also probably some stuff in my cupboards that we never will eat and I'm not sure why we bought it. You are welcome to come on by and take some cans boxes or bags o stuff! I know you and your kitty won't go too hungry, w/ your ma an pa in town, I'm just sayin'... For poor folk, we do keep a well stocked kitchen at Chez Levi. You are always welcome at our table too. :-)
xoxo

downtown guy said...

I sure appreciate it. I'm good right now - I stock up on canned beans and so on with my last $20. But someday you may find me at your door with a knife, fork, and hopeful smile!

Petit fleur said...

That's a cute image... will you be gripping them Viking style? hee hee! For some reason Garfield flashed into my head.

I can't believe I'm up this early. The good news is I was out on the porch and I heard the neighbor's rooster crow! He's sexy for a rooster.

Rachel said...

Yep, it's all familiar. I have a 'government job' too, and everyone assumes I'm just rolling in cash. What a joke. Taxes and frickin' health insurance eat over 1/3 of my check.
I would NEVER tell my parents what my credit card debt totals. They'd never stop the harping. I haven't ever been late on a payment, but like you said, I just don't make enough money. And it's not like I'm in some mansion. Crap, I live in a 60 year old house that has half ass finished projects all over. Because, you guessed it, I can't afford to have them finished.
It just goes on and on.

downtown guy said...

Yep. Right now my need to buy list includes a non-ripped shower curtain and some caulk so I can block up the hole where the rats come in.

EDP said...

You're not whining, man. I've been in this situation, and I know it sucks. And hell, even for people who are making a decent wage, there's the feeling that a) it could end at any time, like, tomorrow and b) we'll be working until we're 85 years old. Maybe longer. I wish I had some magic advice or job leads. Hang in there. You're a very good writer, and that's definitely worth something.

downtown guy said...

Thanks. That means a lot coming from you, actually.