Sunday, November 13, 2005

An excerpt from a day in life as me....(11-11-05)

  • From the moment I wake up, my entire day is focused on th efact that this is an altenate Friday, in other words, *Payday*.
  • We are so strapped that I was grateful almost to tears when my partner shelled out the very last of his change for me to put into the gas tank. Yes, change. I actually had to count out coins in order to keep my car on the road and get to work.
  • My remaining total cash was probably about a dollar in small change, barely enough to get a snack, let alone pay for 2-3 meals at work, and no espresso, either! Eeeek! (yes, I am spoiled in this regard, and no, even when it's a single shot with calcium-rich milk, I probably should not be drinking even one espresso a day while pregnant)
  • Therefore, I got up with plenty of time to spare in order to get the check from the store, cash it at the bank, and return to the store in time to get that espresso and breakfast before clocking in for work.
  • The drive through window is closed! There is a sign about the bank being closed for Veteran's Day! It is not yet 9:00. Is it Veteran's Day today? Perhaps the bank hasn't opened yet. I will wait until 9:00 and see. In the meantime, why not check the mail? The post office is right next door to the bank.
  • The post office's office is also closed (although they have still filled our boxes and I hear the quiet soudn of soemone working in the space beyond the boxes, the discreet shuffling of letters and papers), and there is another sign about Veteran's Day, Friday, the 11th of November. Today is Friday, and I think it is the 11th, therefore it is Veteran's Day. It has to be. The bank will not be opening today.
  • I drive back to work and walk back towards the store, investigating the bank near the store first (which is also closed). I have to cash my check!! How? The day is pleasant and sunny and breezy and feels/smells like spring. On the way out to the car and towards the bank, it was so pleasant that I had wanted to spin as I walked towards the car, with the warm fresh air caressing my face and hair. I don't feel that way anymore, and the day seems like a contrast.
  • As I near the store, a coworker merges with me and I tell her that the banks are closed! We wonder if the store (which has a check cashing service) will cash my paycheck. I ask her how much they charge, and she gives me a look that I cannot interpret and says "They shouldn't charge anything!" as we walk through the doors. I am not sure what this means. Will they charge me, but she thinks they shouldn't? How much will it be? Will they not charge? I am confused and beginning to feel uneasy.
  • I stand in line at the express aisle. The checker, Christy, is the same one who gave me my paycheck a few minutes before. She is my friend, I think, at least, we are always very friendly and she is always nice to me and we enjoy talking during our breaks. Once I get to her, I ask her if I can cash my paycheck here and how much it will cost. She says that it shouldn't cost anything, if Steve (the boss) will let me do it. I wil have to ask Steve.
  • I exit her line and stand in Steve's line and wait to ask him. I am beginning to feel like a hungry goat running through the milking parlor when the grain has run out, hopping onto the milking stands expectantly hoping for the grain that is not there... Maybe if it is a different milking stand, or a different person, the grain will magically appear.
  • I ask Steve. It is hard for me to make eye contact with him. I like Steve, but he is my boss and I find him intimidating, too. I feel small and vulnerable. He says something to the effect of the negative and something else that conjures up an image of ALL the store's employees trying to cash their checks here and the store running out of money. The words are getting lost because my mind is starting to flood and I am scared and overwhelmed. I see his face and he is trying to be nice but his words are not registering very much...
  • And then he asks me if I need any money orders, which seems like a bizarre question. Why would I need a money order? (visual image of another piece of paper similar to the check). No, I do not need a money order.
  • I need to eat, I am afraid that I will not get anything to eat and my baby will be hungry and I hear the meager inadequate coins sloshing around faintly in my pocket, advertising their smallness. I hardly see anything and I walk as though in a dream. Also dreamlike, I hear Christy calling me back over to her line so I wait in her line again and I am now feeling ridiculous because I know that going through the motions of standing in these lines is not going to make a difference.
  • I see Christy now and she is being very nice and asking me what I need. Do I need something to eat? I feel overwhelmed with hunger and desperation and fear and my mind is hardly functioning anymore. I just feel like crying, and she is so nice and that makes it very hard not to. I cannot speak. There are no words. I am only trying very hard not to cry in front of these people.
  • I see my checkbook. I can write a check? Yes. This is what I can do, write a check for more than what I need and then I'll have enough gas to get back to work, too. But I can't talk to ask her if this is okay, the words are lost. She says that she can loan me money over the weekend if I need to. Steve is there and he is asking if I am OK. I am not OK, I am hungry and scared and the world is swirling around me in a whirlpool of raw emotion and it is very hard not to cry and get lost and swept away into it.
  • He asks again about a money order, but this time the word seems foreign and completely devoid of meaning, just sounds. Mon-ey Or-der... No meaning. It does not satisfy or cancel out the picture of the breakfast and espresso or the gas for the car. It is just an irritating puzzle piece that does not fit, why does he keep saying it? I hear myself saying, almost in irritation, "What is a money order?" I am confused by hearing this nonsensical word that does not fit or apply.....
  • "You're kidding, right?" "You don't know what a money order is? You're not serious."
  • Of course I know what a money order is. I shake my head impatiently and my hands are up by my ears fanning them, trying to filter out all the confusion. If I could explain it, I would tell him that I am having a lot of trouble processing right now. I hear Christy saying something to him to that effect, how does she know? Her husband had a stroke, does this happen to him, too? Maybe...
  • I try to shake the confusion off. I will write a check. I finally manage to ask her if I can do that, because I do have enough money in the bank to write a check. She is still offering to loan me money, but it will be Ok if I can write the check. Yes. Then I can buy food. I am forcing myself to not cry and to try to stay in control. As she cashes it for me, she explains: if I had any bills that needed to be paid, I could get a money order in exchange for part of the check. I see a visual of the dollar amount of my check and the amount of rent that we pay. They do not match. No, that wouldn't work. The way I am doing it will be better.
  • I am finally able to get something to eat for breakfast and to make the espresso, and so I come through the line one more time, this time to pay for the long desired food. I am embarrassed though....

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