2007-01-11 @ 1:11 a.m.
So if I seemed particularly snarky and angry while Iím talking about rich women who were scoffing at my lowly presence Tuesday, there is a long story involved there. Its called My Life.
When I was a kid, I had every intention of growing up and becoming one of them...you know a rich women, well, except for the looking down my nose at other people part. I was never one of them. I was just the kid who used to drag kids of all colors, persuasions and financial means home to play with me, my cats, my dogs and our coatimundis, much to the horror of my mother. I didnít care what color the kid was, or if they were the only Jewish or Mexican or Gay kid in my class. Iíd just drag them home and insist that we take them to our cabin at Lake Tahoe. I grew up rich you see. I just didnít know it.
When I was real little we werenít rich, but once I moved to California, my Dad got a really good job with the airlines and we started living really well. We had a really spectacular house in this area called Peacock Gap, which on a clear day you could see the tip of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance and down below we overlooked this lush green country club golf course. I went to a private Catholic School. Didnít everybody? It was during the Zodiac Killer scare and our bus was trailed by police cars every day. We didnít know of course. I also took private piano lessons at Dominican College and had recitals every six months. We had a cabin at Lake Tahoe. Didnít everybody? Weíd go up there every summer as well as many weekends during the school year when Sr. Ambrose would let me leave two hours early so we could beat the rush hour traffic. My mom took art lessons from Bette Davisí ex-husband. I had my own credit card at age 11. When I went shopping at Northgate Mall, Iíd occasionally run into such people as rock star Janis Joplin and later film maker George Lucas. And of course my Dad was mega-thrilled the day he bought his pride and joy, a pearl grey Mercedes Benz. Heíd never say he was going out. Heíd always have to say he was ďtaking the Mercedes out.Ē
And then as the 1970ís wore on, my Dad started making even more money and we eventually moved up to the Wine Country into a huge custom built house with several acres of apples. I got a car as soon as I hit 16. We took vacations to Disneyland and L.A. I pretty much got anything I wanted, although I was always pretty humble and mainly just asked for tickets to Broadway musicals that came to San Francisco. And then when I moved out on my own, my Dad paid my rent for about a year and bought me a second car when I totaled the first one.
What Iím saying is, I was rich most of my life and never looked down on anyone. In fact Iíd always insist on bringing friends with us to Lake Tahoe. Iíd also have my best friend come up for the summer in the Wine Country. I always wanted to share what I had.
And then reality set in. I started working at 18 while I was in college. I was going to college full time and had two part time jobs...one at a movie theatre and one at the college library. Guess when I had my first nervous breakdown? Its funny I had never had any mental health issues before my parents divorced when I was 17. That in itself was no problem, since their marriage was like Hiroshima. It was very stressful. I practically lived at my high school so I wouldnít have to deal with their fighting....so I was actually happy when my mother told me they were getting a divorce. But then again I already knew she was cheating since I used to see our building contractor go out the backdoor every morning around 6 a.m. I guess he was already (ahem) nailing something.
I did make a go of the Wide Wonderful World of Employment for the next 30 years of so. I did various kinds of jobs. I worked in libraries, retail, repertory theatres, offices, temp work, but mostly newspapers. During all those jobs I suffered from severe depression, but I always worked anyways. Sometimes with medication, sometimes without. But the thing was, I could never get ahead. Never! I had the brains (I was an honor roll student for much of high school), I just could never kiss anyoneís ass or be in cliques or not show disappointment when Iíd work really hard for a manager and then got passed over for like the 4th or 5th time for a promotion. It got tiring after a while and then I stopped trying.
I really think it was my last full time job at a Catholic Newspaper that sucked the life right out of me. The first four years were okay, but there were many staff turnovers and I kept getting passed over for the job of Art Director. And rather ironically on my own time, I had an outside business where I was art director for several freelance newspapers and there were no complaints there. But the Catholic Newspaper just refused to give me the job because I didnít have some mc fancy piece of paper saying I spent $28,000 on a college degree which would then enable them to hire me as a $16,800/year Art Director for THEIR newspaper.
Instead they hired some My-Kids-Just-Left-Home-And-I-Want-a-Job-Even-Though-My-Husband-Is-A-Highly-Paid-Executive Mom who took like a single Junior College graphic design course and got the job. I was furious, especially the first week when she timidly came over to my desk and asked how big a 1X2 ad was. Like duh!! She had absolutely no experience in newspaper design. No experience in Photoshop. And suddenly she was the Art Director of a newspaper. Oh wait, scratch that, I WAS PUTTING OUT A 14 PAGE NEWSPAPER...and not getting compensated in any way...as usual.
Well, she finally, sorta got the hang of it after about a month (although she had not one iota of design talent--the paper looked like ass) and then she did the most dastardly thing Iíve ever experienced in a workplace. She stopped talking to me and turned all the staff members against me. Everybody who I had once been friends with, as in eating lunch with, going out socially with after work, abruptly stopped talking to me. It was like something out of second grade. Like if I walked into the room, everyone would just stop talking and stare at me like I had a giant goiter sticking out of my forehead. I was devastated. And my mental health was already pretty delicate from all the stress, so I eventually went into the hospital for 8 days. When I got out it was even worse. No one would even look at me. I felt like I had leprosy. So I finally quit and went on disability.
Now normally getting disability for mental health issues the first time out is nearly impossible, but guess what? Go ahead guess! I got it the first goddamn time! Am I good or what??
There was that brief, silly period when my father passed away when I thought, me, his only child, might possibly inherit something, like, oh I donít know, $750,000, from his impossibly huge estate, but I was wrong of course. His mail order bride whore certainly took care of that.
So since than I have been living well below the national poverty level....like say on about $9500/year. Could you live on $9500 a year? Try it. That's like Paris Hilton's hair product budget. Because other than undergarments and sneakers, I havenít bought a new piece of clothing in over 6 years. Iíve had a series of junker cars that have constantly broke down. Although at the moment, I have a Subaru with almost 220,000 miles that has been behaving rather well thank you very much. So can you pray to the car gods for me? Thanks. I also live on food stamps ( a whopping $99/mo). It should be more, but I hate tangling with my asshole landlord who refuses to do any paperwork which will help me in any way, so Iím just leaving it at that. I owe my shrink lots and lots and lots of money, but fortunately, heís very patient with me. Iím also fortunate that I have a social service agency that pays for my art classes. I could probably swing them, but it would cut into my food budget. I donít have cable TV. I have the cheapest phone service possible. The cheapest car insurance possible. I get assistance on my rent. My one big luxury is cable service for the internet. I figure Iím on here alot so pfft!!
So as you can see, I have fallen quite a distance as an adult. And you wonder why I get all sulky and indignant when some rich woman in a Flax dress looks down at me and kinda thumbs her nose. I guess its because I feel like yelling, ďI used to be one of you!! I used to be one of you!!Ē But then again, I guess I would just kinda look like some poor crazy person yelling for no particular reason and how dignified would that be?
Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty