Went riding along in Hubman’s truck the day after the election. Mother in law started a rant in the back seat. Young people just don’t want to work. I spit back “well it’s a good thing they don’t, because there are no jobs for them anyway.”
“People just don’t want to work, they’d rather be on welfare.” Oh really? Well a welfare check and a selling a pint of blood will almost pay the rent. Yee haw, throw a party. Then I thought hmmm…. If no one wants to work, then why is there an unemployment rate? And why is going up? I thought the unemployment rate was defined as the percentage of people who were actively looking for work that can’t find a job. But…but…but how can that be if no one wants to work? Riddle me that?
Then she started spouting Rush Limbaughisms, muttered about all the little girls who want free pills. This is referring to the Sandra Fluke hullabaloo that happened a few months back. I bit my tongue but wanted to say “excuse me but it takes 2 to tango, if the little boys kept their pecker in their pants, little girls wouldn’t want or need pills now would they?” But I didn’t say it, instead, being the rational and calm person that I am, I lost my freaking mind and starting screeching. “JUST STOP IT! Stop it! Stop it! I can’t…take this…ANYMoOOoRRRE! And I sure as hell can’t take it for another 4 years.” Then I started sobbing. Dead silence ensued.
I cried all the way to where we were going. A Lock and Key Store to buy a safe to lock their valuables in because the riots are going to start any day now. Obama got re-elected you see, and the gates of hell are now officially wide open. And yada yada, and blah blah blah. I stayed in the car and cried the whole time they were in there buying the safe and continued to cry the whole way home. Mother-in-law hopped out of the car like a scalded cat and ran for the door the second we pulled in her driveway.
My eyed leaked on and off for the remainder of the day. After using up a box of tissue I gave up and just let the tears fall. This morning my eyes were so swollen that I look like someone beat me with a sock full of quarters in my sleep. I feel like I had ripped a band aid the size of a placemat off my heart and everything came bleeding out.
Struggles as a child, walking the streets at night looking for coke bottles to cash in to buy a bag of pinto beans to feed the family. Struggles as a young single mother, looking for a job and lying about my age to be old to enough to get a job. Having to lie and say I had no child to get a job, and hoping I didn’t slip up and mention the child at work if I did get the job. Single mothers are a bad risk because they might want to do irresponsible things like stay home to care for a sick child. Not good for productivity. Not good for the bottom line. Stockholders don’t like that.
I thought of all the times I’ve laughed at off-color jokes in an office thinking “you stinking scumbag.” Now, now, don’t want to get into all that sexual harassment nonsense. Grown women should know how to take care of themselves. Ha! Whatever happened to the notion of things you don’t say in the presence of a lady? Did we give up the right to be female, the right to have any semblance dignity when we went to work, because we HAD to go to work? Or starve.
I never had that choice, staying home was not an option. Sure, it was an option if I went back to live with my child’s father who would beat me senseless if I happened to blink the wrong way. I seemed to blink the wrong way a lot, it turned out. He didn’t want me to work, of course. If I went to work someone might see the bruises, or I might meet another man. As if another one of those creatures was what I was looking for. The last time he back-handed me and split my lip I left, baby on hip and walked 6 miles to my grandmother’s house. She took me in, but told me that I should go back because he was such a nice man with short hair and my baby needed a father. Guess she didn’t notice my clown lips or the blood on my shirt or the fingers marks on my neck. She was an expert and not noticing things.
I thought back to the day a patronizing boss sat me down to talk some sense into me when I asked for a raise in pay. He decided to walk me though my expenses to show me how I was just squandering away my paycheck and didn’t know how to manage money. I’ll never forget the look of shock on his face when he realized that it was true. I did not make enough to cover the most basic of expenses. There really was nothing left over for luxuries like gas in my car or heat in the winter. His solution to the problem? He offered to have an affair with me and “help out” with my expenses. I declined and left the job soon after that.
That’s when I turned to night work. A young woman can make a lot more money from tips slinging drinks in a bar than working at an “honest” day job. Enough to almost live on… sort of. The problem is that you pick up your child from the sitter in the morning when they are wide awake and ready to rock. You’ve been up all night working and are bone dead tired, but no sleep for you. No rest for the wicked.
Try holding a sick screaming child in your arms, convulsing with fever and get turned away because you have no money to pay a doctor. Shame, shame, wasting all that money on food and rent. Think that doesn’t happen? I know it happens, it happened to me, it happens all the time. Mr. Husband told me, “but that’s against the law, they can’t turn you away in an emergency room.” Well, Bubba, guess what? Things that are against the law happen all the damned time. If it didn’t, the news media would go bankrupt. If there is no law breaking, no dirty laundry to snicker about, then there is nothing to talk about. No news.
Yes, there have been times in my life when it has been hard, gut grinding, stone cold, bitter, hard as nails. Hard to make it through the day. Hard to make it through the night. I’ve cried myself to sleep with a dollar bill in my hand because that was every penny I had in the world and rent was due the next day. Somehow I made it through.
The next time someone tells me that people are poor because they are lazy I’m going to sit them down and duct tape them to a chair if I have to. I’m going tell them about my life and dare them to look me in the eye and tell me it was my fault. Look me in the eye and tell me I was too lazy to work. Look me in the eye and tell me that I didn’t try hard enough. Look me in the eye damn you. Just shut the hell up and look me in the eye. I dare you. See how far you get. I’m not keeping my mouth shut anymore.