Saturday, June 18, 2011

Buddy, Can You Spare a Donut?

My first husband and I were married for about five minutes after we graduated from college.  When we parted, I was so anxious to leave that I let him keep the house we'd totally renovated as the price of my freedom.  I moved into a rental apartment and a period of intense financial anxiety.

At the time I was working for an employer who paid us once a month.  I was making barely more than minimum wage and had a couple of years of car payments stretching ahead of me.  Some months I was so strapped for cash during the last few days before payday that I had to feed my cat cheese or my only freezer-burned hot dog while I ate pickles smeared with the last of the peanut butter or tomato soup made from ketchup and hot water.  (I wasn't carrying any extra weight in those days.)  The one thing that kept me going was the knowledge that the paycheck would arrive when scheduled.

Life as an independent contractor these last few years has been fraught with occasional anxiety over cash flow, but Barry's income was always there as a backstop.  Now it won't be.  I like the two part-time jobs I have now but I like eating well even better, and I feel the specter of watery tomato soup looming. 

My instinctive reaction to anxiety is always to eat, but this time I've decided to channel my nervous energy into a job search instead.  I've applied for every computer- and insurance-related job in the greater Phoenix area that I'm remotely qualified for, plus jobs cleaning hospital rooms, running the cash register at the local drugstore, and making coffee at the refreshment kiosk in our neighborhood supermarket.  I'd consider selling pencils on the street corner, but hardly anyone uses pencils any more. 

Of course, if all else fails, maybe I can write a book.  I can see it now - The Condiment Diet: Hold the Hamburger!

"From the gut comes the strut, and where hunger reigns, strength abstains. " ~Francois Rabelais

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