There are days of the year that are impregnated with memory and meaning, oftentimes they follow the conventional calendar of a nation, with days set aside from the end of the war of independence, the birth or death of great leaders, commemorations of battles or simply enough history. But our emotional calendar can be built on changes in the temperature, births and deaths of those we love, first or last meetings, scars earned or scars healed. I just found myself white knuckle gripping onto anything that wouldn’t not tilt with the hours as the days passed. The tequila poked holes in the assembled stone dam I rely on to keep my emotions in.
The next day all I could do was recover, rehydrate, confront how raw and desperate, intermittently trying to ignore it with a tv show. I was beginning to feel better – laying on the couch with a bubbly pineapple lemonade seltzer and my dog. Just had to move my leg…and time slowed – I swear right then, I had a superpower, could see each splash of my drink as it landed across my laptop keyboard and the tv show went black.
I didn’t scream or curse aloud, there was no one to hear the anguish. I turned my laptop over to pour out any drop that would shake loose. My hair dryer is in my hands, set to cool, maybe I can defy gravity. Then I have to resign myself, every advice column I look up says all I can do is hang my computer over to the gods, to the universe, to knowing that it is mostly impossible. I go to sleep. Only time will help me to reconcile with the reality that this, very simply, will cost me money. In the end, although the colloquial saying is that money can’t buy happiness, NOT having money can absolutely, without a doubt, without any hesitation, I am certain in declaring that NO MONEY leads to greater unhappiness, fails to solve problems, and is most often the thing that is needed to solve problems.
I don’t have much money, this life change is only possible through the reality that my monthly budget is 20% of what it had been when I was living my life for my profession. And beyond that it requires sacrifice. So now I need to sell off anything of luxury that I may have accumulated, that I once sought out because for once I could splurge. Because my life was draining so much joy in the day-to-day that to buy stuff was a relief. And now all I want is half the value in cash, any cash, or credit on my account. It could all be maintained, as long as I was willing to work at my job that paid me a little more each year.
And now I am living from scant resources, and trying to devote my life to writing, and I have spilled a sticky liquid all over the keyboard to the magic machine that was meant to transport me away from my routine and into an unknown new that I had fought so hard to make possible.
And I contemplated that perhaps the universe was trying to tell me, as clearly as possible, that my efforts are not only foolish, but also futile. That I have deluded myself into believing a pathetic fantasy, one that only other pathetic people ever seek out. And now the ghosts, the chakras, the elves, the alignment of the stars, the imbalance of my own emotions, the sacred and the profane – whichever name it owns that day – was telling me to give up. Admit defeat. Forgo humiliation. Take the message and run. Attempt no move, and go home with my tail between my legs while I still can, while I have not yet gone too far as to be unaccepted on the other side – the respectable side.
And yet here I am, many monies later, on an identical computer, with an unsullied keyboard, reconciled only in that I am writing, in the fragile peace I can scrap together and hold onto. Still desperate, my knuckles pushing at my skin, my fingernails torn at the edges, the callouses thicker each time I dig myself out and start to climb again.