The Fickle Finger of Fate

With a speed that would make Superman himself envious, my life continues its rapid dervish-like decent into the realms of possible disaster. After a month-long wait, I finally got to see the Citizen’s Advise Bureau (CAB) today. With visions of all things positive running through my mind I answered when the lady called my name. We went into a little room and got down to business.

And business…was not good.

It turns out that the little light that I was envisioning at the end of the long dark tunnel was not an exit, but the train. All that was missing was the rope necessary to tie me helplessly to the railroad track. I think though, if I’d waited long enough, the rope would have been delivered…with a bow on it. But all allegories aside (or is that metaphors) I can now proudly claim membership to the “It so totally sucks to be me, right now” club.

It seems like my only options are to starve to death quickly or just to starve to death. My pension is not enough to house me or clothe me never mind feed me. If I take a lump sum, said lump sum will reduce the amount of my yearly pension drastically; and the worst bit is that the lump sum will get gobbled up by creditors. I will have to move because not only do I have “too much house” but I cannot afford to pay the rent any longer.

Here’s just one fun bit.

As I am renting on the private sector, no one will want to rent to me as my pension is too small and I don’t have a job (yet). Lack of job equals lack of stability, never mind how I got into this predicament. The prospective landlord will not care about my personal circumstances and that is their right. He (or she) is in the business of making money on their property, not doling out charity on a case by case basis. All my joking about cardboard boxes isn’t quite as amusing as it once was.

But part of the problem with today’s information gathering episode was me. I placed far too much importance on the CAB visit. I had pumped myself up to believe that they would answer all my questions in a way that would benefit me. They did answer all my questions, but not how I wanted them answered. The answers, when they came, only made the situation seem worse.

I am sitting here feeling slightly nauseous, partly because I haven’t eaten today and partly because of my current state of mind, and not a little depressed. On the plus side, I am not panicking (yet) and I’m not even hyper-ventilating; I think my daughter Meg is doing that for me. I think I am still in the same state of mind I was in before I went to see the kind folks at CAB. The only difference is that now I have a better idea of what I won’t be getting in the area of financial support.

The only thing I can do right now is not let the future override my present. I have to believe that no matter what happens, I will survive and thrive. I’ve had a lot of people (my family for example) say, “What you’ve got to remember is that you’re alive. You almost died; you need to hold onto that.”
I do hold onto to that thought, but, another thought tailgate’s the first one and that thought has to do with the irony of being saved from death only to starve or sleep on the street.

But I have learned a very valuable lesson today. Don’t place too much importance on thinking ahead when the future is so uncertain. Focus instead on the short-term and keep a flexible attitude. It’s okay to plan for tomorrow when you know the facts and not so okay when you don’t. Sometimes you just have to live each day and take comfort in the fact that you did at least one thing that made you happy whether that one thing was just getting up or something more esoteric.

So despite feeling a bit like the fickle finger of fate has given me a prostate exam sans lubricant, I can take a certain amount of pride in the fact that I can actually “trot” up the stairs (a feat I was not capable of last week). I take great comfort in the fact that I can walk to and from the Metro twice in one day and not collapse from exhaustion afterward. Okay, both trips were not end to end, so to speak, but not a whole lot of time had elapsed between trips.

I’ve been put off my stride, again, and I will face more obstacles as this little scenario plays itself out. I refuse to let it get me down though and the CAB did give me some brilliant websites to access for more information. The main problem with today’s session boils down to me trying to plan ahead for things that have not happened yet. Oh some of them had, but not all, and it was that problem that led to my depressing meeting.

I do know that just writing this blog post for the second time (the first draft was so full of depressing information that I could see myself being blamed for an increased suicide rate) has improved my low mood no end. I don’t feel like I can take on the world just yet, but I feel like I can at least dodge that damned train.

Evading the Chattanooga Choo-Choo…

Don’t read your old posts

Fun With Dick and Jane
Fun With Dick and Jane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have learned the hard way that I shouldn’t read my old posts. Every time I do, I find something I don’t like about it. Or I’ll edit and re-edit the damn thing.

I can spend ages fiddling around with the sentence structure because on my second viewing I decide I put the comma‘s in the wrong spot or (God forbid) I didn’t use a comma at all where I should have.

Mind you, my nemesis is the comma. Well more accurately it is the ‘comma splice’ and all it’s annoying-ness. When I took Introduction to Writing at the University of Maryland it was my most common error.

My tutor would hand back my assignment with lots of little red circles scattered over the page like random holes made by a miniature shotgun blast. He would always tell me that I would have gotten the top grade on my little writing projects if I could just curb my incessant misuse of comma’s.

My excuse was always the same. “If I read the sentence in my head and I have to take an abstract, or metaphysical breath I insert a comma.” My tutor would shake his head at my ignorance and say, “Then stop breathing when you read or better still make your sentences shorter.”

I decided that short sentences were the answer. I became the Ernest Hemingway of English 101. Although to be honest I began to feel more like the author of the  “Dick and Jane” text books that occupy the first grade school library. Of course this Hemingway type of writing did not last long. In a very short time I was popping so many comma splices in my sentences that my tutor began to call me “Splicer.”

Ernest Hemingway in Milan, 1918

Eventually I mastered (a little) the use of the comma, but I still feel the overwhelming urge to insert them whenever I have to take a mental breath while reading the sentence. I graduated with a B average which was okay by me.

Comma splicer I might well be, but, I never dangled a participle or mixed up my tense’s. That would have been unforgivable.