Friday, June 17, 2005

From Iraq, to Shiavo, to the gas situation, to the economy, Social Security - you name it, and the government has repeatedly shown itself to be totally out of control. And their delusions are growing daily. How do sane people begin to combat such an insidious force? They don't argue with facts, or logic, just their view of 'morality' according to their narrow religion. And the militant left aren’t much better.

My daughter was extremely frustrated recently after a professor (!) at her college pointed out during class that "pedophiles and homosexuals are the same." She didn't know how to respond to someone who didn't care to listen to reason. And the right says colleges are too liberal!

More and more I feel like an outsider watching the country self-destruct, but still having to deal with the consequences. I hesitate to speak out when someone in my town makes a particularly inane comment because I really hate to alienate people, but how else will change happen? My husband and I have discussed Plato’s The Cave at length, and feel it's an apt metaphor for much of what goes on today. But if we can't bring people out of the cave, and they still control our world, how do we deal with the outcomes? A self-sustaining cabin in the woods is more appealing every day.

I rarely watch TV news anymore, either, and while I feel obligated to read the daily paper to keep abreast of issues for my assignments as a freelancer, I think it's starting to depress me. I read Time magazine, NY Times on-line, and some Yahoo headlines, and that's more than enough. But I'm also afraid of what may be happening in the world that I need to know about - not that there's really much I can do about any of it - but I'd hate to be caught unawares by something major.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

So much of my life seems to be a struggle against the status quo. I don’t care about the trappings of a big house (who’s going to clean it?), fancy car (horrible gas mileage and upkeep expense) and designer clothes. I don’t wear make up, color or perm my hair, or get manicures. Simple, natural, real – why does society hate that concept so much?

I want to read, learn, explore the world, share with the global community and love my family. No jet-setting, big social events, obsession over bank accounts or paranoia over identity theft. The latest Homeland Security terror alert is more bother than help, and I really don’t need to hear it. This life is terminal; get used to it.

All the fuss about carbs and fats and personal trainers – what a waste of time and energy. Walk a few blocks; don’t eat that double Big Mac, and stop fretting about what size jeans you can squeeze into. No, I’m not pencil-thin marathoner. I’m 46, 5’9”, 180 pounds, and I’ve worn a size 14 since high school. I’ve given birth to two great kids, and my body shape will never be what it was 25 years ago. I hate to exercise and sweat, but I do like to walk – outside, not on a treadmill in a smelly gym – and enjoy nature. Will I die a few months sooner than someone who obsesses over diets and Pilates? I doubt it, but if I do, I’ll bet my years will be more contented.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Just re-read my earlier post – pretty heavy stuff, for me. I don’t usually go off like that, but life is really hitting back these days and I’ve had about all I can take. So, I let off some steam. Didn’t really make me feel any better, but if someone else reads it and understands my frustrations, then I guess the idea of sharing it all is enough.

Pride? Can’t afford that, so detailing our financial failings doesn’t bother me – too much. It highlights my feelings of failure and inadequacy, but I guess that’s a little thing in light of the whole situation.

My ideal existence of writing, designing web pages, volunteering in the community, maybe traveling with my husband and soul mate to all the places we dream of visiting will have to be put on hold (for the most part) while we meet our obligations to king (Bush) and country. Not that we haven’t tried meeting those obligations in the past; we’re not deadbeats who just don’t care, but life hasn’t been very cooperative. And, as I said earlier, people who have just don’t understand the struggles and frustrations of those who have not.

‘nuf said – for now.

People who have money (enough to pay average living expenses, maybe take a real vacation now and then) have no concept what it is like to have none. Unemployment and a lack of financial saavy can wreck havoc and take a lifetime to recover from - no cash, no credit, no assets, no real possibility of ever reaching even, much less get ahead. We have no luxuries - no boats, motorcylces, new cars, or designer clothes. I shop second-hand stores and garage sales for as much as possible. Medical and dental care? Get real - all we can hope for is no major injury or illness. That's about all the insurance will cover.

Those people take for granted the ability to buy a new car ("But the interest rates are so low!") or a house ("You don't even need a down payment!"). Ever try buying a car with a lousy credit rating? Our last used car (1997) purchase in 2000 came with a usurious 23.95% interest rate. We have three $300 payments left (after five years), the car has over 200,000 miles, needs major repairs, with no hope of fixing or replacing it in the forseeable future.

We've reduced the rent (buy a house? yeah, right!) from $850 to $675 by downsizing (sold nearly all the second-hand furniture we owned) and moving to a two bedroom tri-plex in a small town. And try renting anything when you have pets - that's another whole rant!

So work hard, play by the rules, report all your income as you struggle to start a small business that barely makes a buck, and the IRS will come knocking for their (huge!) cut. And now I have to give up my dream that is just beginning to show a profit and return to the rat race world of corporate America, where 90% of my paycheck will go straight to the IRS.

My husband's pay will cover those little things like rent, food, utilities, insurance, and trying to help two good kids finish college so they don't end up financially hopeless like their parents. And we'll spend the next seven years of our lives working to pay Uncle Sam for the privilege of being Americans, where the only ones who get ahead are the ones who are born with money or who don't play by the rules.