Colorless Green Ideas Unintentionally Amusing In Person
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Everything is awful
I suppose it’s a side effect of being borderline clinically depressed (only borderline! Whoo-hoo!), but things are not feeling good today.
I feel like my entire life is outside of my control—that I can’t make independent decisions, that the circumstances controlling my (our) life are beyond my ability to change. And, what’s worse, it may even be true.
I'm in love with a house for sale on 28th Ave—a 3-bedroom restored Victorian, with hardwoods and stained glass, in an area that’s poised to become a quaint urban neighborhood (I think), and, because it’s juuust starting to head that way, this wonderful house is priced at a mere $180,000. If T.H. had a decent job I would totally want to seriously consider buying this house—with roommates it wouldn’t be too much more expensive than our apartment now, and I’m almost positive that it will be worth a lot more than $180,000 in a few years. But I can’t consider it, because there’s no way I could qualify for the loan on my salary alone, and T.H. doesn’t have a decent job.
I want a dog, and T.H. doesn’t want to get one until he gets a regular job. And I have to clear it with our landlord first. And I can’t do anything to help or speed the process with either of these issues.
I'm down because I was looking forward to moving ahead on all this stuff (we'll move to MD, and get a dog, and pay off debts, and buy a house, and have a guest room, and not have a roommate, and start gearing up to do all these grown-up things, like collect some savings, and take a vacation that’s not 100% funded by credit cards, and maybe have a baby! ) and now, because the job didn’t work out, we're right back where we were before, waiting for the process to start, and I'm tired of it.
It’s been 2 years since we moved to Portland now, and, as I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had a somewhat unequal distribution of the practical burdens and responsibilities in our household. T.H.’s freelance work has been poorly paid, dooming us to continue our college lifestyle, in spite of the fact that we were hoping to graduate and start paying off debts, think about a house, etc. etc. It’s also meant that my salary has gone towards our practical expenses—bills, groceries, things like that—to a disproportionate amount. So while I alone could probably afford a dog, I, paying the entire car payment, the entire grocery bill, and all of the entertainment expenses for 2 people, cannot afford a dog.
I know T.H. has made sacrifices too, but the whiny part of me thinks (perhaps not entirely without justification) that not being able to buy CDs, or Xbox games, or go to the movies as often as you would like because you’re choosing to work from home for no money is not the same as watching your credit card balance creep upward, and not being able to go on vacation, or reach financial and personal goals because your partner is working from home and making no visible progress towards taking on an equal share of the car payment.
The seemingly-endless cyclical nature of the current situation ("T.H. is looking for a regular job! Really!") is wearing me out, and having had a (possibly overly) bright future to get hooked on makes me all the more aware of how tired I am of having to justify the circumstances ("T.H. is doing freelance & I'm working 40 hours a week, and it's okay because he's looking for a job and the market's bad! Really! I know I've been saying that for 2 years! It's fine!").
And I know (intellectually) that we have made huge progress in the last few months, and I know that the “looking for a job” that T.H. has been doing in the last couple of months is very different from the "looking" he was doing before, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm trotting out a similar line to people who've been hearing the same thing from me for years. I'm feeling very conscious of the fact that I sound like I'm getting taken advantage of by one of those proverbial slacker-husbands. And, although I know (intellectually) that I'm not, that doesn’t make me feel good about continuing to make the same damn excuses about why my life seems to be in an eternal holding pattern.
And I don’t think there’s anything I can do about the situation. I can’t police T.H. from work, and make sure he’s really looking for a job. I can’t force someone to hire him. I can’t force him to take a job he’ll hate—and I don’t want to do that, anyway. I just have to wait, and be supportive, and try not to burst into tears when I get my credit card statement, or realize that no we can’t get a pizza, because we have $40 until my next paycheck. And I’m trying, I really am. But I’m so tired of this, and today I’m just not up to being positive about it.
I want a dog. I want a pizza. I want the house on 28th Ave. I want more than $50 in my savings account. And I can’t have any of these things.
But it’s okay because I went to the gym this morning. That’s how it works, right?
The gym we frequent attend somewhat sporadically (but I’m working on becoming more devoted, primarily because I would really like to lose 10 pounds before my birthday next month) is a local, established-in-the-40s gym, formerly home to old-style weightlifters in snazzy wrestling outfits, back in the days that a weightlifter was a guy with defined muscles, rather than a 300-lb-mass of bulging manliness (and steroids). It’s extraordinarily inexpensive, and not at all slick, and filled with normal people. No Bally’s™ aerobicized-to-death people, with fancy haircuts and cell phones, no spinning classes—instead there are local folks, with grey hairs and beer bellies and too much ass that they are damn-well-going to stair-step off. (That would be me, with the extra seat padding, which I’m working on…) They say hello, jauntily, even at 6 am, and most of the regulars know our names. (They also notice if you skip a few days, and harass you good-naturedly when you return, chastised by a long weekend and too much Ben & Jerry’s.)
Some of the older guys are former competitive weight lifters. The owner—who has a framed picture of former Minnesota governor and pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura visiting the gym, smiling and pointing at the sign outside (Established in 1947!)—is one, and another is the notable David Columbo (for real!). David has his grey-white hair cut in a 50’s crew cut, and wears print boxers, a spotless white v-neck men’s undershirt, and calf-high white socks to work out. He is superbly chiseled, even though he must be in his 60s. When T.H. told David he was a web designer, David said “Yeah, the Internet, right? You don’t do those pop-up ads, do you?”.
Last week, as I was puffing along on the stationary bike, David looked at me, dripping sweat and gasping, and declared cheerfully “Looks like you’re getting a good workout! That means you can eat whatever you want today!”.
I went to the gym this morning, and I dripped sweat onto the bike, and I even went upstairs and did sit-ups afterward, and I’m having a healthy-healthy dinner of Quinoa, beans, and salad, so it’s okay if I ate too many pan-fried rice noodles at lunchtime.
I fended off another weekend of neck pain by taking a muscle relaxer Friday night, and consequently slept until 1:30pm on Saturday (something I haven't done since I was 17 or 18).
Our roommate purchased Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic and played it ceaselessly the entire weekend. In fact, he skipped work today so he could keep playing. I think it looks fun, but have not had the opportunity to try it out, since, at this point, the only way I can see to access the XBox would be to beat my roommate to death with a crowbar. Eventually he'll fall asleep... then I'll try it out and kick ass with a lightsaber!