This is the rant of the working poor--the thousands of us who are trying to survive this recession and the war on workers.
We're tired. We're tired and broken and worn down and sick of the rollercoaster of hope and despair. We're embarrassed to have to accept help. We're degraded and desparate and depleted.
So other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?
More following the orange filligree...
Some of you have followed my (lack of) progress since my housing crisis 18 months ago. I was unemployed and about to lose the place where I had been staying. Kossacks rallied to my aid and helped me to rent a room and cover some expenses while I started my new job. Later assistance helped me to get a new artificial leg.
Like so many in this economy, including other middle-aged workers, I took a minimum wage job in a service occupation. In 2013 I made just over $15k. It's been a nightmare of constantly begging for hours and never knowing from day to day what my final schedule would be. I work for the Wal-Mart of the tourism industry--big, famous, and utterly heartless. Any infraction is a capital crime--every violation is escalated to a "safety violation". In reality, it's a lot like the TSA--it's all about the appearance of safety. By handing out written safety violations like halloween candy the managers can demonstrate how much they care about safety.
I have only survived by selling the family silver, collecting foodstamps, and receiving handouts from my best friend and his wife and friends here at DKos. All the while, pasting on my happiest smile to greet the masses at work. Still, I'm more than a month behind on my rent, owe $1000 on my new artificial leg, and have several thousand dollars in unpaid medical expenses for my elderly father, my 1999 Nissan is starting to need work (rebuilt starter and a used tire last month), and I need several thousand in dental work.
Now the latest crisis: After begging and grovelling for every hour I could get over xmas, I had my little nest egg to survive the winter doldrums wiped out. First was $300 in car expenses, then a demand for $300 from my father's pharmacy or no delivery, then a three-day suspension from work ($200) for something that wasn't my fault. As if that wasn't bad enough, now I find that my father's social security direct deposit was less than $500 instead of over $1600, so his rent check is going to bounce.
I'm now almost two full months behind on my rent and my landlady isn't going to put up with much more, no matter how much she likes me. Tomorrow I'm going to have to call the assisted living facility where my (divorced) parents both live and tell the manager that his check is going to bounce.
I'm tired of being poor.
I'm sick of eating $0.88 frozen meals out of cardboard boxes.
I'm exhausted from trying to keep up with 20-somethings at work.
I'm demoralized at feeling like a failure.
And I hate being nice!!!!!
(And a thousand other things you hear every day from the working poor across this country).
If things don't improve, not only do I face eviction, but also my 88-year-old father. I've been at the end of my rope all weekend. Thankfully my best friend talked me down and other friends have been supportive. Sadly my story is all too comon these days. Some of you are in similar straits. Most of you know others who share this misery.
I just needed to rant with people who understand. It doesn't lessen the pain, but I do feel less alone.
Thank you for listening, and good luck through our shared economic nightmare.
Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 8:30 PM PT: On Monday morning I called the Credit Union and learned that my father got his full Social Security payment for January. There was a glitch that prevented me from logging on to online banking.
I had a hellacious weekend in the interim and I'm grateful to all who held vigil with me. I know that there are lots of other folk who are equally vulnerable in these volitable times.
Thank you all.