Posts tagged escapism
I wanted to write, the last post being created from a perspective that had not yet completed a specific objective which required multiple prerequisites. The stress of that upcoming change, decision, or action caused ripples in the time before it, extending months. The planning that had gone into it was set into motion years before that.
I signed in, signed up, and shopped for my plan. The plan would be free, but I didn’t quite know it at the moment before taking the actions. I had employed some type of psychic accounting in order to prevent liability, but I had taken it to such an extreme and I probably did not need to.
A moment here or there, sober or intoxicated, taking a peek at subsidy calculators and the current table of poverty guidelines issued by the same people that think one can live on 700 a month. I could have worked it out much more skillfully, but some frantic, manic, procrastinating, lazy fool chose to take over for a bit instead.
I still haven’t done the research, but a part of me even chose a specific number as an income target. It wasn’t very well thought out, except some simple math showed that I would have to make one amount in order to maintain bills, maybe save a little, and still have the reserve capacity to make big payments in order to sustain a business model that even I believe is unsustainable.
It takes money to make money. Even if I had a crazy plan to make as little as possible and still keep everything going as if nothing was wrong, there would still be times when I know I would have to come up with 500, 750, maybe even a cool grand at different points in the future. As it stands, there are only two main expenses to my entire business model. Hosting and payment processing.
Without having to file a thousand little receipts I can just pop out those two and the rest is small change. I just don’t spend money. On very much at all. Ever. Sure, a few bad habits have somehow slipped through the cracks. Cheap cigarettes in the hopes I’ll quit, cheap beer because I don’t drink it for the taste. A 22 year old vehicle that I somehow prevent from completely disintegrating before my eyes, and a body that insists on working without intervention from a cruel and malevolent medical complex.
I don’t spend money with some ignorant assumption that I’ll just “write it off”, because when the predicted income level is below a certain point, there is not going to be very much cash to throw around in the hopes of “writing it off”. In other words, if you know you aren’t going to make a specific amount by purchasing any product from the use of that product, the purchase isn’t a write off, it’s a loss.
Maybe my past experience of getting burned in Orlando by that mystical creature Alexis did more help than harm in the long count calendar after all. I mistakenly trusted her to access my credit, thus destroying my credit for that 7 year waiting period for everything to just disappear from the credit report. During those 7 years, one can become quite disciplined in not depending on other people’s money to maintain regular expenses or splurge on what I like to call “stupid shit”.
All those years of avoiding collection efforts, waiting for time to pass, and finding rental accommodations that did not depend on excellent credit really taught me some valuable lessons. To this day, I couldn’t get unsecured credit if I tried, and I have made it that way on purpose. I didn’t use any identity protection “service”, I simply made sure that while my score is actually considered “good”, I do not meet at least one of the criteria for being easily granted credit. I also monitor it myself with an alternate service that is free, except of course for all the ads that are actually paying for it.
There was a built in incentive to be super cheap when you know that the money you have stashed is all you can depend on, and there will be no “safety net” because the credit done run dry and the parents are dead, well, one of them. It provides quite an incentive to view money as “time” instead of seeing it as all the shit you have been told you need on television.
When I went through my last severe depression, I was prepared to release all possessions and live on the street for a while, just as an experiment. I was impressed and disappointed with myself at the same time as I got the job that prevented homelessness at the last minute. I was impressed because I didn’t think I could really pull it off, but I was disappointed because by getting that job, I was abandoning my “plan B”. I didn’t have the balls to be homeless.
I was too selfish to let go of everything I had created and maintained online, even though, being homeless didn’t mean being “host-less”. I could still have existed comfortably on the digital plane even as I was sleeping in a 20 year old van. Hosting is just over $50 a month, rent was $450. I was ready to trade down and allow my physical self to exist in limbo in order to maintain my digital presence for as long as possible. I didn’t have the balls to go through with it. Getting a job, making some cash the old fashioned way, was actually easier for me than just being a lazy fuck and panhandling until I got disability.
It didn’t help that shortly after Candy’s first departure, I made a friend in a guy named Mark. He was 59, and he had been homeless for about a year after coming to Baton Rouge from Chicago. I met him the day after he moved in to an apartment upstairs, just after getting his back payment from social security. This was probably in the second week after Candy left. I would need to review the video footage to make sure, but I don’t think I started making little videos with him until after a month.
He was very abrasive, demanding, insulting, intolerant, somewhat racist, homophobic, unpredictable, unstable, alcoholic, and addicted to Tramadol. He was a real Archie Bunker type, but add the severe alcoholism and drug abuse. I was at a very low point, and I don’t think he saw me for more than an hour of any day sober. The times he would see me sober were when he nagged at me to drive him somewhere after waking me up by phone or knock on the door to wake me up before I could start pounding vodka. Even then, I had to constantly resist the urge to down beers with him that I told him not to open before we would even return “home”.
He shared quite a bit of information about exactly how to “be homeless”, survive, even thrive. The information was geographically specific because he had spent the prior year learning these things right in my own backyard. If I saw him on the street at some point before really meeting him, which I very well could have, I would have refused to acknowledge him, while being aware of his presence just in case he pulled some shit on me. I have a sneaky suspicion that I had seen him too, because he was familiar, and I would have faded memories of those times when I ran some errand and had to avoid “those people”.
Even with his encouragement, and offer of limited support in this venture, I couldn’t go through with it. The alternative was to cut my hair, shave, bathe for once, and wait to start drinking until AFTER I went to at least 3 places in person to drop off a resume and fill out an application, if they even fucking let me. Instead of basing my search at the time on typical want ads, I created ever widening spheres of physical distance I would have to travel for each “zone” where I applied. The closest places weren’t interested at all, but things started looking up when I hit about 3 miles out…
That decision changed a whole lot of future shit. It changed where I live right now, how much cash I have, what computer I’m using, if I still owned that van, and in a way, it has changed who I actually am, “right now”. This changes over time, I know, but that was one of those pivotal moments when I had a distinct choice about how to proceed, and the choice I made led to a future that I am more than satisfied with.
My decision to occasionally rant and rave about this and that over the course of the last six months may have been an indirect effect of the pressure and stress brought about by my fear of missing another mark. Doing it all wrong. My occasional visit with my sometimes evil, insensitive, alcohol induced alter ego hasn’t helped very much. I was in such a panic over having to pay some crazy new monthly bill, that I somehow created a plan that I don’t think I allowed myself to be fully aware of at the time.
I picked a number, and I was so very amazed to see that it was less than $100 off from what I was “hoping for”. I know that the number itself would not inspire very much celebration to a lot of people, because it is a very low number. I am astounded that I am able to maintain the reserve that I have while working at such a low margin for almost an entire year. I know I was sabotaging myself here and there when it came to making money. I could have encouraged someone to get off their *ss and help me out a little more often. I could have taken the massive reserve of unused content and add it to two websites that have not been updated in over two years now.
I didn’t do any of that though. I got lazy. I wonder even now just how much of it was intentional, and how much of it was following along with a plan that I created when I was too intoxicated to even remember it on a conscious level. I never even bothered to do more research to find a much more exact number, or even a slightly higher number that would have still created the same result. Full subsidized healthcare.
I may have created all of this knowing that as a regular earner of one amount, I will be penalized by a lack of subsidies in such a way that would probably not seem fair or proportionate to whatever financial pain I may perceive as an individual who has lived, saved, and been very comfortable with an income level considered “%100 poverty”. I haven’t really worked out the math, but a part of me glanced over at the federal table of poverty level income at one point and I realized that I might not have gotten much of a subsidy at all if I had made as little as 5K more that same year. In fact, my worry was that making one dollar more than some cut off amount would lead to me making one higher amount, and then being forced to pay out so much over the course of a year that I still end up at poverty level income anyway.
If I have to just give it all to them, why even try to make more than a certain amount? It was difficult to even try writing that out without using specific numbers in an example, because I didn’t do the fucking math myself. I just kind of guessed that there would be some kind of steep cut off for subsidies way too low to be realistic or reasonable. So, I went for a target income, when considering expenses, would end up at a point where I do not exceed the federal standard for %100 poverty level by more than 1K.
That was a crazy sounding plan, I know, it seems crazy as I type it. It was convenient that I worked that one full time job the year before last, and I noticed, that without the W-2 from that job, the desired target income was not that much more. It seems even more crazy to me that I would have a serious anxiety about making “too much” money. I should have been adding it up with each statement all through the year, but I was just making general estimations based on quick glances at deposits.
Now, I’m “here”. I enrolled by the deadline. I almost didn’t, because the state exchange that I used was going bat shit crazy on sunday night, and I just kind of gave up because I knew monday was the deadline. I am talking about a state exchange, not the feds. The feds site is such a piece of shit that they keep extending the deadline for them… Nope, my state has an exchange, and the site almost fucked me over because I had to do this big complex application, but the site shit out before I could put my “free” medicaid plan into some arbitrary fucking shopping cart. That shopping cart shit almost fucked me out of enrolling in time, which would have cost me an additional $95 as a “mandate tax”.
I was lucky that I felt compelled to “double check” and go back to the site on the day of the actual deadline, because while the site did say I had “enrolled”, it still forced me to do the shopping cart step, threatening me with potential non enrollment, even though I “digitally signed” this big ass document that took at least 20 minutes to fucking fill out. I came up with the term “entrolled”, because I thought I was enrolled but because that shit is already more fucking complex than taxes, it is almost impossible sometimes to know for sure.
I shouldn’t complain, but it was stressful. It fucked up this whole tax season procrastination thing I had going. I would have made estimated payments through the year based on estimations, but I never knew just how close my fucking estimation would be to what I ended up with. I didn’t know until I was forced to do all the fucking work of filing my taxes without actually filling out the fucking web form…
I would have procrastinated to do all that shit until at least march, but now I have already been forced to do it, I have all the numbers, and as long as I don’t have a deposit or buy any business related shit, I was ready to do fucking taxes before fucking christmas. That is fucking bogus. Oh well, it’s done. I was also super thorough and honest in giving my future psychic prediction of exactly to the penny what I will be making in 2014 too.
I have always thought it was amazing that psychic accounting will soon become a regular term in our vocabulary, because according to the form I filled out at the state exchange I used, I have to honestly predict my income for next year under threat of fraud and perjury. It’s bad enough I had to do my fucking taxes before christmas, now the assholes are going to threaten me to psychically call to the dead and ask exactly how much my fat porn is going to make next fucking year.
Wow, mood change there! I can bitch and complain about having to figure out taxes to the penny months early, but it is a genuine “first world problem” isn’t it? I mean, the alternate me, on a timeline where I never got that job, would probably not be too worried about being hit up for a mandate tax that he would not have to pay because he would not have an income to pay taxes on. Although, I am curious about the details of that potential alternate reality, like, would I still be liable for a mandate tax even though I did not meet the minimum filing threshold of income. Maybe I didn’t do more research on that detail because I didn’t really want to know, or I just don’t give a fuck because it is so detached from the future that ended up taking place.
Either way, here we are. I am not homeless, and I somehow tricked Candy into coming back willingly. 🙂 I have endured the year 2013 with a local move, and the first year payment to process visa on the websites. That was a lump payment of 750 right there. It does take money to make money indeed. All the while, I was making less than $1000 over what my government declares %100 poverty level. I keep typing that phrase out, because after enduring the alleged hardship of making that income, I still have money in the bank. Am I “poor” because of my income alone when I am still “comfortable” and actually have “savings”?
In fact, I seem to have everything I want and need, and the only pressing things I still really want are not going to cost any money. If one of my final goals is to get a specific certification, it is up to me to make it happen. Money is not an obstacle to education because I would find a cheap way to have someone else pay for it without going into debt. If I want to gain yet another type of certification that I don’t want to get into, there are very defined steps for me to obtain that “license”, and because of the very thing I have been complaining about, I may now start a process that will not even cost anything. I will finally have a “doctor”. That could be scary, because Mark taught me some stuff about handling medicaid doctors too… 🙂
This latest experiment in living just over poverty level has been educational, not only in showing me that I could do it, but also in changing my perception of poverty in general. It is ironic that I chose to sit down and write on christmas day itself, a day which represents a loop of disappointment, resulting charity, disappointment, repeat. As a I phase out and watch local news, a part of me would be involuntarily touched for a moment by the generous act of a charity group handing out toys to poor children.
After a moment, I would realize, that I was just afflicted on a subconscious level by a phenomenon that has been created as a direct result of corporate capitalism and blind consumerism. In other words, if christmas did not exist to begin with, poor children would not be denied that specific positive event, created to raise the bottom line of retailers across the board. There is a desire, as a human, to allow myself to just flow with this feeling of charitable propaganda, because I want to feel for the children, to see them happy. The logical side of my reasoning has to ruin the party though, because I am quickly reminded that this entire system has been created out of a new type of greed and sophisticated marketing and propaganda.
I don’t need all the shit on television, I don’t need this or that specific thing, I have not created a ritual involving this or that over priced “treat”. I have a very short list of very specific things that I would choose to have in my life, but I would let go of those things with little bitterness if my hand was forced and shit got out of control. For example, there does exist a price point where I would say “fuck this, I quit smoking!” While it seems like beer is going up and up, I am fortunate that my prior experimentation has not left me physically dependent, so even if I still enjoy psychological exploration of my intoxicated alter ego, it is not a daily habit, and a habit that can be scaled back to such infrequency that I would begin to miss it altogether, if all the assholes that sold beer passed some price point that I am not quite sure about this second.
The only thing I can’t do without is a person, and I lost her before, over and over. There is no amount of money that could keep her, or lose her. There is only my bad choices that could lose her. I am lucky that one of the only bad choices I have even been tempted by was alcohol, and I am very fortunate that she was able to make a compromise to allow occasional use of a lesser source of this chemical. Trade down from vodka to beer, and attempt to restrict intake to a point that leaves me much less intoxicated than I used to get on vodka. Every once in a while, there is a breach in my own security, and a part of my own self attempt so live dangerously and push my limits. Both with myself, and with her.
I know it is wrong, I know I don’t need it. I know I would always choose her over it. I guess that is where the term “guilty pleasure” comes from. There is a part of me that argues “I’m a grown man, if I want to get really fucked up on some ice beer now and then just cut me some slack!”. It is not that simple though, not nearly. It never is. Compromise is a very delicate and complex thing. Both sides have to give. I am grateful she has bent to the degree that she has, and while there has been one dented wall incident from a thrown mug (not at me thank god), she has shown remarkable restraint when I have chosen to take my ice beer intake one can over the line.
I can’t make excuses, I can’t even really talk to her about it, because it makes her too uncomfortable. I have to assume that I am “alcoholic”, even if I don’t feel like I am. Even if I don’t crave alcohol intoxication every day, or every other day, or I let it slip for 3 or 4 days so my resistance is super low, I still seem to thoroughly enjoy the initial intoxication, and once afflicted, I am driven to push further and further. I think that is called “binge drinking”, but it is nowhere near as severe as my little relationship with vodka was.
I still “use and abuse” alcohol, like some kind of explicit street drug. I deny myself for days, sometimes really just “forgetting to drink”, sometimes getting it while out, knowing that I won’t be running errands for nearly a week and I want to take a little trip to fuzzy reality land just once before I have to go out again. I can’t purchase a “30 pack” because at some point I might allow myself to consume more than 12. If I get a 12 pack, I have to put 6 in the cooler and give Candy the other 6, or I will most probably get up to 10, maybe opening number 11 but not being able to finish it, leaving a sorry sight of 1.5 beer total the day after I got a fucking 12 pack. I could have gotten loaded twice, but instead, 5 beer me said “fuck that shit I want to get fucked up!”
It is hard to figure all this shit out at times, if it’s not one thing it’s another. I felt like writing for a bit, and I came up with the title complexity before I knew for sure i wanted to write about. I didn’t even get into some stuff I was thinking about when I first started, like trying harder to apologize for all my ranting and raving about weight loss surgery. I thought that subject was limited to drunk me being stupid, but it appears that frustrated sober me before mandate compliance was using distraction and misdirection yet again.
If I seem so skilled at tricking myself into this or that behavior, I have come to another theory, about how I may be able to re-align my thinking and goal orientation in such a way where I actually “forget to drink”, or even better, procrastinate from drinking. That’s a thought. I was using alcohol while I was committing the act of procrastination, but maybe, I can turn some shit around so that I am literally too busy with some other shit I would rather be doing to be tempted to take a trip to that place where I hang out with a part of myself that I hate but am fascinated with at the same time.
I wondered myself why I would feel compelled to hyper post all over facebook when intoxicated on alcohol. I would ask myself “who am I talking to?” I think I might kind of be talking to myself there. I have reached some point where I only get loaded about twice a week, the second time is not as severe as the first because I am still dreading the last time. This last time I did it, I noticed something about it that was already turning into a habit, a game that I was playing with myself that I wasn’t fully aware of as I was doing it.
Within 2 days after one of these binges and facebook rants, I would slowly begin to remember things that I would have typed, as well as music and news articles I may have posted. If I posted photos, those will come back to me later too. One of the reasons I avoid facebook after a drunken rant session could be related to this fuzzy memory game I have been playing that I didn’t “remember”. When I use terms like distraction, misdirection, and even regression I might be minimizing the actual phenomenon.
What started out as using alcohol for escapism and avoiding reality has definitely evolved into something else. It is still not habit, it’s not every day, I don’t consume alternate substances not meant for consumption that contain alcohol, and if there was just one beer in the fridge it would not be appealing to me in the least unless I went out and picked up a sufficient amount to “peak”.
It is kind of ironic, that I will take on the responsibility of having a problem with alcohol, but at the same time, I am forced to reconcile with the fact that occasional alcohol intoxication would be acceptable, if it was mild and I didn’t have to push it to the point where I am starting to have trouble walking and typing. Even worse, it would not be so bad if there were not a part of myself that has a limit, but it is a very very high limit. I noticed that I stopped taking diphenhydramine to enhance alcohol altogether, because I literally can’t type at a much lower level of alcohol consumption.
I realize that this problem would not even be as “bad” or unacceptable if it wasn’t compounded by the past trauma and experience of my partner, who resents that fact that she can’t keep multiple forms of alcohol to make cocktails with because I might raid it. She is ok with alcohol consumption, but not alcohol binging. That is very ironic, because she occasionally enjoys a food binge. We have had to fight against co-enabling by making very distinct compromises. The complexity of love… 🙂
I am running out of steam, I don’t know how or why I got over 4500 words, but hey, I won’t be drinking. Not tonight. 🙂