~Thursday, May 29, 2008

Broke, not Broken

Things get pretty boring when you're broke.

I guess I could start with a couple of days after my birthday. When I first moved to the city, I moved into a transitional area of town. It was the cheapest option to get downtown. After a year and a half of fine transitional living, the neighborhood changed. Instead of the swing towards gentrification, the baddies took the neighborhood back with a vengeance. The pendulum snapped back with full force. My truck has been broken into twice. Scott's been mugged once and had his bikes broken into three or four times. I watch drug deals on my drive to work. We joke, but it's actually gotten pretty scary around here. I don't go out after dark by myself anymore, not even to the grocery store.

A couple of nights after my birthday, Scott shook me awake.

"Baby, what are you doing? It's 3:30," I mumbled. "I have to get up for work in a few hours."

"I just got mugged," Scott croaked.

"What? No, you were mugged in November." I rolled over.

"I got mugged again."

I looked up. Scott was standing beside the bed in tears. He had a hard time speaking. The last thing I remember was him sticking is head in and announcing he was going to the gas station to get cigarettes at 1 a.m. And I had already been in bed for at least an hour.

As he left the gas station and got on his bike to leave, four men approached him and punched him in the neck, knocking him off his bike. They couldn't hit him in the face because he was wearing a helmet, so they aimed for his neck. That's why he couldn't speak. They wrestled him to the ground, held him down, and robbed him.

I remembered the date in my head. My birthday is at the end of the month. "Rent," I whispered.

"It's all gone."

I just wanted to reach up and slap myself in the face. Things were finally looking up. He had a job to go to, albeit a horrible one, but I finally had money to spend on myself. Instead of saving it, I bought myself decent clothes for work, ie my birthday presents. It's all gone, indeed.

I sat down and reworked my budget to encompass both of our rents and all of the bills. I could cover it, but it hurt. It's been Ramen Noodles and fried eggs to eat all month. I am miserably broke.

Life while broke is pretty static, hence my dropping off the face of the earth. I'm not doing anything; I'm not going anywhere. The only thing I could write about is my running commentary on TV, of which I have refrained.

Scott got a second job making sandwiches, which was fortunate because I love sandwiches so much, I could eat them every day. And I have been. He saves his free sub he gets when he works and brings it home and we split it for dinner. I also just found out that we qualify for food stamps, so that's something to look forward to, fitting in with the neighborhood and all.

On a side note, did you know that crack addicts will break off your car radio antenna because they can smoke crack out of the hard plastic part that connects the antenna to the car? Because they do. And they will.


Textie said...


Single Girl said...

Ugh. I'm so sorry to hear this. Mean people really suck. Especially when you're trying to get on your feet again and stuff like that happens. Grrrrrrrr! I hope things get better soon!

susy said...

I'm very sorry about your twisted luck of late...I hate that it's puring on you, on top of the regular rain.

Since you're bored, maybe you'd be interested in renting Charlie Wilson's War and pay close attention to the story that Gust tells about the little boy and the Zen Master.

If you can't afford the rental price, I'll be happy to tell it to you, just let me know!

I hope the book does well and that soon you'll be getting some royalties to help you out of the current slump!

Best wishes ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't understand - what happened? He was carrying your rent money around at 1am? I'm not being sarcastic I just don't understand...

Paige Jennifer said...

Obviously if you can afford to break the lease, you should. I mean, for what it costs you to remain there (between the repeated muggings and auto damage repairs), it may be cheaper to get out of the contract and move someplace safer.

There's a neighborhood in Philly that's turning. It's been turning for over a decade. And in the meantime, I won't go near it. Yes, there's a great burger in that neck of the woods but it ain't worth being shot for.

dont eat the token said...

No one should ever get punched in the neck, robbed or made to feel helpless. So sorry he had to experience this, twice.

I'm glad you're staying in after dark.

My city started getting scarier, there were random brutal attacks on people biking, etc around town. I have never not felt safe here, miles from downtown.

BTW, I had my rent money in my wallet once, before I ever had a checking account. It fell out of my jacket, I went back for it within the half hour, gone. I even confronted the people parked in the same spot where I think it fell. (pool hall) A week later a woman found it in the street 40 miles away and mailed it to me - sans rent money, change, stamps, new drivers license and SS card. I was 18 and had a lot to fucking learn!

Anonymous said...

Oh honey, it just sucks doesn't it? I have been that broke, a few years ago now, but you never forget how it feels to not have enough money to buy food.

Definitely don't go out alone after dark and don't let Scott either any more.

If you can move, get the hell out

Diane Mandy said...

That sounds really tough. I'm so sorry. I hope things get better soon.

Enny said...

Oh man!!!
That's terrible!!!

I'm glad you're both safe/okay for now - hope things pick up, whichever path you decide to take...

Lpeg said...

Oh Sarah, that's terrible. I'm so sorry you're going through this right now. If you have the money, get out of there. That's scary enough thinking you could get mugged at any point, but to have it happen twice!

Anonymous said...

Urgh. That is so SUCKY!

Where we live there are several missions where crack dealers have come in and gotten all the homeless people hooked, and now they break into cars to get the change people leave in the ashtray, or on the floor. It happened to us. After spending $300 on a new window, we just leave the door unlocked. If they want the pennies, they can have them - just not at the expense of a new window!!!

Our neighborhood (thankfully) is turning for the better (hoorah for our property value!).

Also, don't quite understand why Scott would go out with all the rent money in his wallet. Seems... ummm... (no tactful way to say it), stupid?

Curvy girl said...

Sarah - This truly sucks. I will vote with the majority to say if you can move you should. I have been on the broke train more then I care to think about. At one point my mom told me to move someplace cheaper so I would have more money and I told her that I would gladly be broke to pay for a place I feel safe in. Keep fighting and try to stay positive.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! And things were looking up for you guys...

>*;* said...

WOW.. I'm sorry, what luck.

Food stamps get you pretty good food. I know I used to eat better as a teen mom when I got them than I do now as a career woman with a degree.

Go figure!

J said...

Shitty. Just plain shitty.

AmyD said...

*sniff* THIS SUCKS. :o( I've been worried about you, and now I know I wasn't wrong... Hang in there and stick to it. You will make it out of this!!!

Peach said...

sweetie girl, stick up a paypal button so your loving readers can chuck some cash your way - why not? It's just your writing paying your way?

Am sorry to hear such shit stuff happening your end of the world..

... keep cool and well done for loving sandwiches!

Hope things get better soon X

Dazza said...

That's rotten, I'm really sorry to hear that's happened to you. Ugh.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by though, you put a smile on my face.


M said...

oh sarah :( I don't know what to say. Any chance of moving somewhere safer?

thenextfish said...

That all just sounds so awful. It sucks having no money. I'm with the others re. moving - if it's an option do it! Hugs.

Trixie said...

OMG! I'm so sorry to hear this mate. Hopefully, next month will be better. It's got to be!

kristin b said...

Saw this and thought of you - http://decor8.blogspot.com/2008/05/my-atlanta.html

You're really strong. And you'll make it through all this. Heck - the only place to go is up. :)


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