Three hundred and forty-five American dollars. At this moment, that feels like a pile the size of Mount Everest. My savings fled like a terrified animal from my pocketbook once I arrived in New York. I didn't waste it, no 'extras'. Money on true treats & (arguably much needed) pleasures, such as my first slice of NY cheesecake to celebrate getting a job, still rings in at under $25. And that includes trips to Carlow East & the train fair to get there & back.
I need to switch my Washington State ID (it happens to be a driver's license) in for a New York one, that's $40. More urgently, I need to pay for the Guard Certificate I've already earned (my ticket to a better immediate life): $85. I need to pay for my mailbox (late): $45 (plus a late fee: $?). I need to pay my phone bill: $100. I owe my sweet & generous friend Julie $45. I owe my gracious roommate $30. That's the $345. I got a single day of work last week. Sigh upon sigh upon exasperated, despairing eye-roll.
I have a part time job qualifying people for studies, and helping conduct the studies. It pays a pittance, but I was so thankful that at least it would be a steady pittance I could count on. Until it wasn't: "The shift was cancelled today, sorry." Or, "We don't have work for everyone today, sorry". Again with sighs. This teeny job was gotten specifically to finance the above expenses & keep me from going hungry until I could get a 'real', full-time job using the Guard Certificate. I have already interviewed with two companies and an agency ready & willing to take me on, if only I was in possession of that piece of paper. But all I have made so far is enough for the train fare back & forth to work and paltry, miserable fucking groceries.
The two instances when I had $85 dollars in my hands, I had to look at it and ask, do I get that Guard Certificate and spend the time between hire and first paycheck going hungry? Or do I eat? I've ended up hungry while underemployed before, but for days, not weeks. And I know food banks are only available during select, daytime hours, the ones during which I'd probably be working. Except maybe sometimes, and I'd be banking on those sometimes to get calories and nutrients.
Really in despair, I chose to eat, figuring I'd have enough within a reasonable amount of time to pay for that certificate. But this has not turned out to be a reasonable amount of time.
Your money burns through your fingers here in New York, to quote my sister Valerie. I've known that in theory forever, yet I still managed to be shocked when I went to pay for that damned certificate and found that I didn't have enough to cover it. That was weeks ago now, and I've been scrambling like a (smiling!) motherfucker to find jobs and earn cash ever since. Today I just feel discouraged and tired and dumb as a sack of hammers.
*tears hair out* Sigh.
Did you read through this? You are a true friend, and I thank you. And apologize. :P I'll be sprightlier next time, I just had to get this out of my head.