Sunday, July 06, 2008

uncharted seas

C. doesn't bat an eyelash when I quit my third job in two months. I tell him, I tell myself, I'll find another job, pronto. Piece of cake. Nothing to worry about. And oddly, I don't worry.

Together, we went online and applied for a Pell Grant to pay the rest of his tuition, which would mean I could take the fat bankroll I've saved for that purpose and buy groceries. The application is so easy I'm shocked it took us this long. That was just two weeks ago and his college already contacted him and told him he should have money by the end of the month.

One morning I sit down and invent a resume that says I am bright shining star of the food service industry and the best damn waitress and/or cocktail server your upscale establishment could desire, and then I go downtown and paper all the nice restaurants and hotel bars. One bar manager tells me to come back after the 4th of July. Everyone else says they'll call me. I'm waiting.

Late one afternoon my phone rings with an out-of-town area code and I pick it up and the guy who introduced himself is the public face of the biggest and most elusive of the institutions whom I have contacted on behalf of Dayjob Project and importunately demanded money. I have been in and out of touch with this man for a year. He has requested documents. I have sent them. I have waited. I have called. I have talked to secretaries and interns. I have waited. I have called again. I have left messages. Now he is on the phone with me and he's using words like "awesome" and "perfect." He's telling me my project is great, and needs to be done, and he's saying "I think we have everything we need to move forward" and he's telling me about the Process. The Process is long, and involves a lot of other people doing things, while I just sit tight on my little ass and wait for a decision. This will take until, oh, say November.

At which time they might or might not send me what I've always wanted: a big bag of money.

A big bag of money means the project can go on. If there is no money, I do not know what I will do. I don't seem to be worried. The project will go on, or maybe it won't. But probably it will. It has momentum, now. A lot of people want to see it happen. I myself will go on, regardless. I always go on.

I find I'm not scared, not at all. This little boat is on the ocean now and the only thing to do is make for the far shore. There is no point in thinking about how deep the water is, or what might be down there. The water is deep and the monsters are down there whether you think about it or not.

I only worry because I am not alone. If it were just me I would have quit dancing a long time ago. I would sleep in someone's garage and live on tortillas like I did when I was twenty, and it would be OK. But C. didn't ask for anything of this, and he trusts me, and I don't want to let him down.

I tell him that we're going to be poor for a while. I tell him I'll do my best, but times are tight. Like he doesn't know already. He does the shopping; he knows the grocery budget is half what it was at the beginning of the year. But I want to know that he knows. I want him to tell me it's OK. I want that so much.

"So you get it, right?" I want to know. We are in the car on the way home from somewhere. C. is driving. I am talking. "You don't mind that we're going to be poor?"

We pull up at a red light, which is good because he can take his eyes off the road and look at me. "How poor?"


"Poor like 'I might have to drop out of school and sell a kidney so we can afford medicine' kind of poor?"

"Poor like 'we might have to eat a lot of beans' kind of poor."

The light turns green. He turns his eyes back to the road. Quietness. He smiles. He reaches over and gently squeezes my thigh.

"Baby, baby, baby," he says. "Baby, you know I love beans."


Scott said...

That's just about the sweetest response ever. :D

Krafty Like A Fox said...

Good man, to say that. And have fun being poor; eat lots of grains. Grains and cheese can get you through almost anything.

Laura said...

Hi! I'm another new person who found your blog through BoingBoing a few weeks back.

I have been wondering for a while why you felt the need to take care of C when so much is going on with your life.

Then that last line... I get it now.

Good luck, good luck, good luck!

Antonio said...

Being poor truly sucks but you've got a plan. Just hang tight! Hopefully the Pell Grant will be approved and you'll get your bag of money in November. It's just a temporary trough. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a good man.

My suggestion is to look for some 'independent contractor' weekend jobs like being a beer girl (you go to a bar, drink a certain brand and be hot, get paid) or be a sign spinner (since you've been a stripper you could land a "sexier" one easy)

katana said...

love and a future. worth being poor.

i hope your dayjob project will involve a lot of income. maybe even some passive income?

Anonymous said...

In my experience, it's better to show up and/or call than just to leave a resume. People who hire at restaurants are lazy and tend to go with whomever makes herself most available. Plus they like to make sure you don't have a unibrow. Just ask to speak with whomever's hiring. Often they'll say, "He's not here, but he usually comes in Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4 and 8," or whatever. Show up and introduce yourself. It's kind of a pain in the ass, but oddly enough, I actually have fond memories of doing this. I met some really kind, cool people and some really colorful, hilarious, parody-of-themselves assholes. (Good fodder for any writer.)

Either way, of course you'll be fine, and it sounds like your project is taking off bigtime. And either way, as you know, there's nothing fundamentally to worry about, because you're you, and that's a huge enough bonus gift from the universe to be happy more than not happy, no matter what.

And don't worry so much about letting C. down. That's frankly a little condescending to him. Have faith that he can handle whatever you can handle, and that he loves you for yourself.

Happy Beans and Tortillas and Work and Love! That's really what life's all about, right? Romance on the high seas. It's the Big Improv whether some poor jerks think they know the script or not.

i_muse said...

I'm confused. For a minute there I thought C. was your child. Until the thigh touch, so
now I am really confused.

As excuses for dancing go, dancing to support a male (unless he was born of your cooch or you adopted him)
in a male dominated society
is sounding on the lame side.
He's not really dependent on you, ya'll are choosing that for some reason. You can un-choose that if it's causing you to do things you would not do otherwise.

You have something to fall back on (shaking your ass)
and you do not need an excuse to do it.
It's easier & it's more money if you choose it be so...
it's a limited time offer from the universe.

Anonymous said...

Wishing you luck and loads of good things :-)
you write way too interesting stuff to be poor for long though. i'm also with the boingboing hoardes trampling your blog - and your writing got (i guess not just) me addicted really quick.
Greetings from Hamburg :-)

LiaStarLight said...

Momentum... What a great word. What a great place to be. What a great post!

Laur said...

Dear Grace,

I don't care if you strip, serve or peel potatoes for a living; there's one thing you can do really well and that's writing. I ended up on your blog after BoingBoing featured it a while ago, and I stayed, because it's all about life, raw, bleeding, unadulterated. I'm not saying you should write a book - that's something for you to decide. But I hope you'll keep on writing, because this is one of the best journals I've ever read. Ever.

At first it was intriguing. Then interesting. Then gripping. And slowly I found myself cheering you on and wishing for a happily-ever-after for you and C.. I'm on your side now, a face in the crowd waving a fiery-red little flag - it's got to be fiery-red, your colour - and hoping that you win it big. Just to show that it can be done.

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hey Grace,

As usual, I loved the text. I hope the big money bags come soon! And I hope that when they've finally arrived, we'll be let in on the secret of Project Dayjob.

As for C. ..., I must admit that when I read through the post, I thought: he's behaving like a child. That grant should have helped him (and you) out a long time ago and it would have been his responsibility to do the paperwork. He obviously doesn't just see you as a lover, but as a care-taker as well. I don't like that in men, but then again, that's me and not you.
And your phrase about C. not having asked for any of this just reaffirmed my gut feeling: that's something you say about children going through hard times with abusive parents or divorcing parents. He did rise again a little in my esteem by the end of the post, but still. I think a woman like you, who is exploring so many ways of making money and getting off the ground, should worry about having a boyfriend who behaves like a lion.

Cheers from Switzerland,


ps: I am writing all this because I care for you and I know full well that all I get is a glimpse of your life and don't know the bigger picture. So please take my comments as comments from a limited perspective. I never mean to offend you!

Web Escape said...

Haha, when my husband and I first rented a little house together some ten years ago now, we could barely afford anything, having anything to go with the beans was something of a treat akin to a full sunday roast with all the trimmings.

I don't need to tell you you'll be ok because I think you already know that and I see alot of myself in you. Peace and luck to you sweetheart.

Senlin said...

What "i_muse" said!!!