Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Arsenic Hour in America

I looked at my bank balance this morning and realized that filling my account is my personal responsibility. It may sound odd, coming from a fifty year old woman, that personal financial responsibility is a realization, a whole new concept, but facts are facts.

I face this day feeling gratitude to Buzz Kill. For all his mishigas, he's been a decent provider which is all he ever wanted to be. Now that I have felt the pressure myself, I can see how someone with anxiety disorder would be perpetually overwhelmed - especially since he's self-employed.

When a couple decides that one person will stay home with the children, that person becomes financially dependent on the breadwinner. My first career choice was Wife & Mother, so it was no surprise to Buzz Kill that I would be staying home with Velvet. When I went back to work, I worked part-time at a non-profit organization that gave me an excellent discount for on-site day care. I stayed there until I went to grad school. Once I got in grad school, I got a different part-time job. So I've always been contributing towards the family income as well as providing primary care for Velvet - which as anyone who knows anything about Velvet will acknowledge - is an exhausting, full time job.

Once Velvet started High School and I finished the MSEd, I went to work full time -with disastrous results, but I maintain that if they hadn't been so tacky, I wouldn't have said such awful things about them on the blog. I am 100% unrepentant, but this financial pressure has got me thinking about the worries of men under the patriarchy.

Some guy once told Oprah that if women were looked upon as sex symbols by men, then men were considered Success Symbols by women. He used the example of a blind date set up by friends to illustrate. Men may ask how big a woman's tits are, but women nearly always want to know what a man does for a living so we know how much money he makes.

This pressure to make money is a drag.
Today, I've had to compete against a former colleague to secure a job. I still don't know if I've got said job, so I had to go out on another interview for a job that I'm really not into, but since I can't count on the first job, I have to keep a number of irons in the proverbial fire. It was an unpleasant, rainy day. Normally, I'd have done the first job thing, gone home and taken a nap. You don't enjoy naps nearly so well when the wolf is hovering around the door.

For years now, I've slept blissfully even when money was tight secure in the knowledge that Buzz Kill, or my dad, or The Man from San Antone if absolutely necessary, would always make sure my bills were paid. In point of fact, they still will. It's just that this morning, my chest tightening with worry and insecurity about the future - I had a taste of what a lot of men must go through every morning.

It's also true that like most Americans, I'm finally running out of confidence. Usually I'm very confident about the future. Hell, I clap because I believe in fairies all the time.

Not so much today.
It reminds me of something intelliwench said over at Post-Raphaelite Sisterhood about Ronald Reagan and the 80's: "It was morning in America, and we hadn't had our coffee yet."

It's not morning in America anymore - and that morning was marketing bullshit anyway. But we privileged whites had confidence in our incomes, that's for sure.

Right now, America feels like the Arsenic Hour: That afternoon time when as a mom you're fucking exhausted from whatever you've had to manage that day and still have to cook dinner, supervise homework and bedtime, be supportive to the man when he drags himself home from his own miserable day, and think ahead so that tomorrow morning runs smoothly. Now that I think about it, I normally managed Arsenic Hour fairly well - particularly since there was enough money to order in Chinese food or Pizza and a Salad.

There may not be enough money to spend on luxuries for a while, but the good news is that I'm well credentialed in a field where there is always work - it's just a little harder to find these days and more people are competing for the jobs.

As we face this awful, endless afternoon in America -one giant economic clusterfuck with millions of people without health care -- it's imperative that We The People band together to fight against Corporate/Congressional Greed. For the first time in decades, there is a chance to change the existing system, but it won't happen unless people make their voices heard over the lobbyists' dollars. It seems impossible when we're all so worried and tired - but we have to do our own little parts. Give $10, or sign a petition. Write or call our congresspeople. Cirlce the capital on a loud motocycle demanding that Health Care should be like a Beer Run like Gordon says over at Alternate Brain, "Single Payer is Like a Beer Run."

Once this fight is won, maybe we really will have morning in America. Before that happens, however, we peasants may finally have to revolt.



i think it's too late...the mr. bigs have won and scrwed us out of our dreams.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

It is, as the late and soooo lamented Douglas Adams once noted, 'the long, dark tea-time of the soul.'

There's only so much consolation you can take from cucumber sandwiches...

I too have precious little back upon which to fall. Some tiny, failing investments, and social security. Being divorced, and childless, and aging (more rapidly than I'd thought possible), I awaken some mornings with the willies way worse than I had when I was trying to be a 'husband.'

If something really bad happens to me, I'll be glad that I don't have cats (which have been known to dine on the deceased carcasses of their former "owners" before the police find the bodies; dogs are apparently more scrupulous).

PENolan said...

Note to self: Don't get a cat

dissed said...

Keep the cats, dump the Mr. Bigs.

"Beer Run" is a good analogy. Everyone kicks in, so it's there if you need it. If you never need it, well good on you, at least it's there -- and someone else can take your turn.

Gail said...

Hi Trish-

Excellent post. I hear ya girl!! I am now at 60% or my income so my end of things here is way off. I am lucky Skipp could careless but it is still difficult to manage.

I hope your job quest turns out favorably. Awful process. ack.

Keep on keeping on.....

Love you

jadedj said...

As usual I am with you PE. However, I have to agree with Yellowdog Granny. I am not quite as optimistic as thee. Just looking at reports today, I realized that we are going to get screwed again. Everyone of the bastards up on the hill are shucking and jiving in one way or another. Fucking sickening!

Out here on the plains my wife and I are ok...just ok. The ax could fall at any moment...as it has on others all around us...that's the feeling. And we have nothing to fall back on. There is no question that it keeps the old bung hole tightly shut.

PENolan said...

Hey Gail - as you may have noticed, I got a job! Hooray.
YellowDog and JadedJ, I hope Obama gives 'em hell tonight and doesn't turn out to be a pussy.
dissed, the guys at Alternate Brain are a great news source - Liberal Retired Military.
Woody, I love Douglas Adams and frequently remember the line about the Sirius Cybernetics Corp, ".. . a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes."

Blog Archive