Sometimes when it rains it pours. And sometimes it doesn’t rain at all because that would be too easy. That would give you a place to hide and convince the world that you do feel like the sky is falling. Sometimes it just stays sunny.
Ever prayed for rain?
Anyone besides a farmer or someone in California prayed for rain? Most folks don’t want it to rain. It’s not something they look forward to or seek out. I want it to rain. I want the wind to howl and the sky to break. I want the air to scream and the earth to shudder. I want the weather to do what I can’t. I want it to rain.
It seems stupid, doesn’t it?
To pray for a storm because you aren’t allowed to be sad when it’s sunny. It is like telling people with depression there is so much to be happy about or folks with a broken ankle how simple it is to walk. It isn’t logical. But I feel it. Staring out the window feeling like my whole world is rolling and outside is everything you could ever want on a summer southern day. It’s like a disconnect.
Sign for it
Sign away your life for a piece of paper. Then work away some years to get what you paid for. Then work some more years to pay back what you already worked for. And more years and more years. You have to ask when to go see your kid’s ball games, when you are allowed to care about your health, and when you can take a breather. Work more years and more years and more years. Bet you still haven’t paid for that piece of paper. Now you have to do things to your body, get this medicine or lose your job, tell us your medical history so we know why you shouldn’t have to get the shot, explain to us exactly how you are disabled, why you are scared of what this medication might do to you and we will decide if that fear is enough for us in our kindness to allow you to continue to work.
Bet You Still Haven’t Paid For That Piece of Paper
But you have choices of course. You could live on less. Go off the grid. Except you signed that paper when you were 18. That paper that says you know how to sit in a seat on a schedule every day for 4 years and take notes. That paper offers you nothing but a negative net worth before you are old enough to even get a credit card. That paper made promises so grand and loud that if we made them about our abilities we would be burned at the stake for blasphemy. That paper that now sits in a drawer in the envelope it came in, or in a frame on the wall in some back office somewhere. That paper means nothing to anybody because as soon as you have it, it is not enough.
To me, that paper is an example of the biggest mistake I ever made. Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-college. But I am biased against it. I made a choice at 18 that will now rule the rest of my life. I made that choice with no knowledge of what it would cost, of the other options available, or that what was promised in return was not a guarantee. So now, when my world shakes, it is never a small shiver. It is always an earthquake that levels buildings. Everything that signing for that paper has put on top of me has ensured that anything that ever crumbles will hurt 100 times over.
It’s Not So Bad, Unless..
Losing your job isn’t so bad as a 20 something-year-old with no rent and no family to take care of. Unless you have over 1k in student loans to pay every month and they never stop coming. Living with your parents in your 20s isn’t so bad. Unless you are working 3 jobs, saving nothing, and cannot afford to have an apartment of your own. Getting told that you are gonna start at $18 an hour isn’t so bad right out of college. Unless more than 2/3s of your paycheck goes to pay one bill and you are doing things you don’t need a professor to teach you how to do.
So Right Now,
It’s 85 degrees and the sun is shining like that is its job. I am staring out the window wishing for rain. Why? I am losing my job this month. I won’t take the shot so I will be terminated from my job as an IT tech at a small college. Nothing wrong with my work. Nothing wrong with my behavior. No write-ups, infractions, complaints, or problems. I wear the mask according to policy. The students on campus are not required to be vaccinated, at least not yet. I had less than a month’s warning.
A Choice at 18
I am not going to get into whether the shot is the right or wrong thing. Everyone has their opinion and they can keep it. I am well aware they are within their rights to fire me for not complying with their rules. And I’m not going to argue about if they should or they shouldn’t because we would be here all day and only leave angry. I am going to respect their decision and if they give me a termination notice, I will go quietly. For me though, it always comes back to one bad decision at 18.
Money Doesn’t Care
I’m not stupid with my finances. I don’t buy lots of things I don’t need. I don’t carry credit card debt. I am still using my paid-off car from high school and have an investment account. I’ve got an emergency fund that part of every paycheck goes into. But none of that does a thing when you have a bill that never stops coming. Private student loans do not care if you are sick, they don’t care if there is a pandemic, they don’t care if you lose your job. They keep coming. Three months of paying a 1k bill would wipe out my emergency fund, assuming I paid nothing else, and I have more saved than most Americans. So all my choices are dictated by this one choice made years ago
It Could Have Been
Maybe without that huge pile of crushing student debt hanging over my head, I could look at it all as an adventure. A chance to do some of the things I’ve always wanted to do while I’m still in my 20s. Road Trip around the midwest. Take odd jobs for gas and food. Maybe work a ranch for room and board for a month or two. Except that can’t happen. Because 18 year old me did exactly what everyone in America is told to do, is expected to do, and signed away my life before I had a chance to live it for a promise that died before I was even born.
Sometimes when it rains it pours. Sometimes you just want it to because damn does it feel like it already is.