Wednesday, February 11, 2009
In life we hit more red lights than green lights. I think. Or does it just seem that way because we don't remember the green lights? Take them for granted?
I was a baller for a good three month stretch. Baller is a relative term, of course. I couldn't buy a new car or have anyone killed or anything like that, but my $2200 a month income had me feeling like a king. I was working as a doorman at a fancy restaurant, getting paid an obscene amount to smile and lift a rope for asshole Persians and their expressionless women. I was training my client, earning a dollar a minute to watch him lift weights and keep him motivated. There were side jobs -- security, moving -- that earned me a decent amount. The good thing about LA is that people have so much money they tend to overpay when it comes to simple shit.
"Can you help me move my bed and dresser? I'll pay you."
"A hundred dollars."
That job took an hour.
But why do people have so much money? Because this is a me town. A town based on individuals; not family. Would-be college funds are disposable income out here. Money you would've spent on your kid's education goes towards a nice car and lavish lifestyle. People aren't born out here. They're imported.
Anyway, I was doing alright. For a good minute I was looking at buying a nice TV. I mean why not? Christmas was on the way and I never get myself anything awesome. Fuck it. Splurge.
Right around then I got cut from my door job. "The economy," they said. This was about a week after they hosted an investors dinner for the new restaurants they'd be opening in Vegas and Scottsdale. I never thought they needed doormen in the first place. Image is a huge part of LA though, and nothing says "party here" like a guy with a rope.
So, like that, my door job was done. Half my income, gone. What sucks is I sacrificed a few of my gym shifts to accommodate the door gig. Shifts that are no longer mine. Shifts I can't get back. Not that I want them back. One night working the ropes was three nights of validating parking and being told not to lean on the desk. It feels like a giant leap back. But it's a leap I would force myself to take given the opportunity. Unfortunately, there's no opportunity.
And my client's car just died. And his job is paying him less. And his clients (he's a psychologist) are cutting back their sessions with him. Shit begets shit begets shit, and now, I'm going to feel it. Four times a week has dropped to three, which is dropping to two, which has a good chance of dropping to one or even zero. Abracadabra, another $650 a month disappears. What's $2200 minus $1650?
You know, I see these old rich white guys on CNN in their $300 ties and $4000 suits, asking for money, for help, and I just get mad. These fucking laid-up CEOs with their sentinel cars and hotel lunches and weekend yachts and they want more money. Being in the top two percent is not enough for them. Why?
In our minds we create these lines in our bank accounts. Imaginary zeros. If we dip below a certain amount, we feel poor, in danger. That line for me is $1000. That line for them is in the millions. That line for a homeless man may be a bottle of liquor.
But who's really in danger? Are we all as bad as the suited foreskins asking for handouts?
No. Those guys are pure shit.
Things can always be worse. I'm still able to make rent, eat, get a haircut. My bank account will slowly deplete until I find something to boost it back up again. I figure if I get real desperate I can do porn.
I'll just... sustain. Which is fine. In life, there's more truth at the bottom than there is at the top.
Kind of like green lights.