Comcast shut off my Internet yesterday for lack of payment, so this post is brought to you by Joel and the free wifi he gets at his office in China Town. You know, the office he's gonna sublet for the next few months so we can catch up on our bills.
Oh the bills, you guys! The humanity! I'm trying my damnest to keep my sense of humor about all of it because I know - I KNOW - this is temporary, but man, it's really hard not to completely freak out. The thing about not being able to pay your bills is that even when you start earning again, you're so far behind that you feel like you were in the crowd at a Jonas Brothers Concert and you lost your footing, fell down and 300 tweenagers trampled you under their Sketchers. It's pretty hard to BREATHE down here. And the only way I can squeek out any sleep is by abusing Benadryl and orgasms. (Which are thankfully, gloriously free.)
I owe Comcast $180 and they won't turn my Internet back on until I pay them, which makes me laugh until I wet myself. When I got home last night and couldn't even access the Internet from my phone (which is only paid through to the end of the month...), I had a not-so-minor panic attack. A tight-chested, couldn't breathe, sweaty, painful, panic attack. I couldn't even remotely control it. I was just gratefeul all three kids were with their other parents so they didn't have to witness it. (Or be disappointed that the Netflix-to-Wii thing no longer works now that the Internet is gone...). I've ALWAYS had Internet. Even when we were broke-ass college students, for fuck's sake, we had Internet.
This kind of poverty is EXCEPTIONALLY painful.
Of course, part of me knew that already, but yet another part really had no cognitive way of understanding it. How it keeps you up at night. How it casts a shadow over your daily life. Over every thought you have. How it makes even the smallest decisions paramount. How it stretches your mind and body into an obscene caricature of existence.
It's almost like mourning. You're miserable, but life goes on whether you like it or not.
Case in point: I spent several nights wide awake trying to do all kinds of math in my head. I'm really good at numbers, but this... it's like a prison, this math, and I kept walking its echoing halls all night, trying to make the columns add up. Which they never did. So, after selling my wedding rings to take the kids on their first rollercoaster ride and worshipping at the altar of the whopping EIGHT dollars I've made in tips doing leg and eyebrow waxes at beauty school, I've come to the conclusion that my only remedy is to sell my car. I can't afford the gas anyway, so, whatever, good riddance to expensive rubbish.
The problem is that a) I don't have a physical title for it b) because the car is still in Dave's name even though it was awarded to me in the divorce and c) he won't return any of Joel's phone calls about it. So, moments after learning that my Internet had been shut off, I went down to the DMV and was promptly informed that I'd have to get a new title from the California DMV before I could even begin to sell my car. This process takes 8-10 business days, which is three days longer than I have remaining until my gas and electricity get turned off.
Unfortunately, my only response was to start bawling uncontrollably. In public. And it was that genre of ugly cry where once you get started, no matter how hard you try, you can't STOP yourself. Those poor DMV workers. I feel acutely, acutely bad for them. They were exceptionally kind and helpful to me and I'll never forget it, even if it is a memory I'd prefer to strike from the public record.
The worst part is that getting the new title from California not only takes two weeks, but $48 that I don't currently have and can't figure out how to get.
So what I'm saying is that I cried in public four times yesterday. After the DMV, all it took was just my own lame inability to park my car correctly and being so overwhelmed by whether or not my debit card would work to PAY for said parking that I went completely over the edge. Being in group therapy (which is even cheaper than the cheap individual therapy I was getting at the University) was also a super great way to burst my crying-in-public bubble. I can't afford therapy (not even at five bucks a week), but I also can't afford NOT to go to therapy. But the crying feels so, SO good. Almost as good as all the laughing, which I can't even begin to harness or contain. This... existence (if that's what you can call it) is PROFOUNDLY funny. The ex-lawyer's wife who can't pay her electricity, much less her rent? It's fucking HILARIOUS and even as it's happening to me, I haven't lost sight of the humor and irony in it.
Which reminds me how I've been meaning to tell you that your charity, whether it be through unexpected deliveries of laundry detergent and dog food or even paypal donations of five bucks - they have humbled me in ways I never imagined. All I can say is THANK YOU and reassure you that the pay-it-forward I have in mind is going to be SPECTACULAR. This experience, this inablitity to make ends meet, has taught me the true meaning of poverty and how little it has to do with money. My utilities might be getting shut off and I'm down to my last twelve miles of gas, but I am SO MUCH richer now than I ever was when we made six figures a year and gave nothing back. To anyone, ever. I'm down on my luck, indeed, but I have an abundance of love and generosity in my life, and with that I can never, ever be truly poor.
Shitass broke, indeed, but in the wise words of Jewel herself, "In the end, only kindness matters." Those are my words to live by...