Friday, July 12, 2013

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

I'm poor.

I've been not financially stable for a while, actually. And it isn't because of the economy. I did this to myself, as you who know me are probably aware. If the economy was booming, I would probably have a few more hours a week washing a few more pots and pans, but I would still be at the same sober house and still living day to day.

But here's the thing. I put myself in this position initially because of my past self-destruction and bad choices. I remain in this position because it's simple, low stress and I enjoy it. A lot.

Money is tight right now because I have to pay a monthly fee for my breathalizer, and I owe big to probation. Once I complete probation (next March), I will have absolutely nothing tied to loans, no contracts, no commitments...hell, I prepay my phone every month, and I'm tempted to just cut that off and use the house phone at the sober house. (I...probably won't do that. Baby steps, John...let's not go full 1992 on your life.)

When I started washing dishes in 2011, I liked the minimalist lifestyle because money was a trigger for my drug addiction. Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton...these were not comfortable faces to look at for very long.

Things change. Money is not a trigger anymore. However, I keep the dishwashing job for another reason altogether: doing something that I despise is not worth the money. I worked at a video game company in what was probably the best office atmosphere ever. And after several years, I couldn't do it anymore. If you can, more power to you.

One time, a server dropped some plates off in the dish pit, and said, "Man, John, I could never do what you do."
Me: "Well, I could never do what you do."
Him: "Yeah, but I'm going home with $100 in my pocket."
Me: "Good for you. I'm going home with my dignity and self-respect."


(Actually, I'm pretty sure I said, "Then you're buying me a beer later, right, moneybags?" I liked to drink a lot.)

Right, the dignity and self-respect thing is a bit much. Sorry, waitstaff friends. This reminds me that one of the biggest benefits of being poor is that you get to be uppity about it. I have to keep a balance of doing what I think is right for me but without putting myself up on a pedestal.

"Oh, I don't watch TV. It truly rots your brain, and the commercials? They'll eat at the heart of you, slowly...and program you like the little consumer you are. You should read a book."
"You can't afford cable, can you?"
"No I cannot."

"I wash dishes because I refuse to be a corporate slave anymore while I sit in a cubicle and have my soul die slowly every day. I also wash dishes because I'm a convicted felon...but more because of that first thing I said..."

"I hate superficial women...but that's probably because I don't have any stuff."

So yes...I have to find a balance.

No money means not eating fast food all the time. That's good. Granted, I have to quit eating really awful food at home, because I'm not a college freshman. I'm slowly but surely getting back into grocery shopping like a normal person. Apparently, food can be prepared and consumed without the use of a microwave. Crazy.

And yes, smoking. It is indeed "impossible to sustain a smoking habit" in Austin these days. Another added benefit of my income level.

The point of this little entry (I think) was to get to this main idea...a point I made to my counselor...a point I need to make to members of my family who might be concerned about me career-wise: I found that I enjoy dishwashing, so I'm not looking to do anything else right now. It's not because I'm afraid of failure or that I don't think I'm good enough to do something else. My passion is in my art, not in a career job with benefits and 401k. Will I wash dishes for the rest of my life? Probably not. When it starts to suck, I'll do something else.

It's going to be okay. Just be happy that I'm 10 months sober today and I enjoy my life again.

I could use some dental coverage though. My teeth are shit.

Zen. Or tired. They look the same.