WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE: SNAPSHOT OF LIVING POOR

snow shack

Should I buy it? Do I need it?

I sit here a mass of nerves, stomach jumping, head spinning. What’s the problem?

My Kindle isn’t working like it should anymore. It has served me well for more than two years. Now, things that didn’t work perfectly at the start work even less well. It’s beginning to die. So what’s the problem? Get a new one, right?

Poverty. I can buy it cheaper now — on credit — than will be possible for months (years?) to come. I depend on my Kindle. I don’t buy paper books. No room. I have to make a decision. Today.

My hands are shaky. I should use what I’ve got until it dies then buy something. But that won’t work well. I’ll wind up paying full price. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

You wouldn’t think I’d get into such a stomach-churning lather over spending $200 — especially when it’s something I use constantly, on which I depend. You wouldn’t think so. You’d think, at my age, this decision would be simple, obvious. But never having enough money means nothing is obvious or simple.

My moment in time. Sitting on the edge of a razor, ready to slide downward. I feel myself about to be cut in two. I see us losing the house, living in our car, no place to go. The moment is pure panic worry, anxiety, insecurity. Caught doubting myself, my motives, my reasons. Gut-wrenching fear, because the ever-hungry demons of poverty shadow me, make me second-guess each purchase, no matter how tiny.

Should I have bought the cheaper spaghetti? The generic rice? Not bought the fish that wasn’t on sale? Skipped the better dog food? Never mind a Kindle. I don’t deserve it. The other one still works, sort of. What’s wrong with me?

There’s no fun in this. No fun, no reward. I’ll be sorry no matter what I do.

I hate being poor. Right now, I hate being me.



Categories: Life, Money, Writing

Tags: , , , , ,

25 replies

  1. Very well done . . .

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  2. Decisions! Decisions!!

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  3. I live on $374. a month. I feel your pain, but I wish you weren’t feeling so low and hating being you. I kinda like you. You are so certain in your convictions, you have so much experience and intelligence. You are loyal and caring. I know I am not alone in thinking that you are a beautiful person. I better stop before I piss you off more:>)
    Warm hugs,
    Patti

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    • I’m not pissed off. Flattered more like it. The thing about my convictions is that I also change my mind. I don’t feel the same all the time and when I get new or different information, I process it and rethink stuff. Some of it is really just style. I express myself one way while quaking inside. It’s the up and down of being a writer I think. You have a “voice” in your writing that is you … but also isn’t entirely you. In any case, I’ve always had a bunch of different personas. I’m moody. Sometimes I’m up, something I’m down.

      But how can anyone live on $374 month? I suppose it helps not to live in this region which is very expensive, but still. That’s not much money!

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      • Very carefully:>) Mostly, because I have no debts. I have been waiting for probate to be finished, then if the lawyers haven’t eaten it all up, I may have a few dimes to rub together. For now, I live on a generous friend’s property in my Maggie cave (27′ travel trailer).
        I commented so you knew that, although you may be hating being you, we like you a lot:>)

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  4. It is a dilemma and you can’t help envying people who can just go and buy something because they want it or who go and buy the latest gadget as soon as it comes out. I hope you are able to work something out so that you can get a new Kindle without leaving yourselves dangerously short of money.

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    • Being permanently poor is a “no exit” situation. If we were young and had careers ahead of us, there would be an “out.” But we are post career, so what is will also be the future. We will never be destitute and we will never have enough money. Many retired people are in the same situation or much worse. It ought to be a scandal. That it is not is a scandal too.

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      • Oh, you said it, Marilyn. I’d say that too many in our country are in such a situation, but the truth is that if there’s one person in it, that’s one too many. I hope things will improve for you, and for all.
        xo

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        • Things will get a little better pretty soon. The car gets paid off. That’s a big payment gone. Hopefully my son’s job situation will improve and he can contribute a bit more. It’s a tough go for seniors. The cost of living way outstripped our plans … those of us lucky enough to even have plans. When we looked at our future retirement income years ago, it looked okay . Not lavish, but sufficient… then, things changed. Stuff happened much sooner than they were supposed to. The economy took a dive and money that should have been there disappeared. Not just for us. For our entire baby boomer gen. I know a lot of people who will try to keep working as long as they can stand on their feet because they haven’t the wherewithal to ever retire. So — when I’m feeling particularly sorry for myself, I remind me it could be worse.

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