"Sweet Jane," is playing. My body feels good, one hour at the gym--- and its not just the working out. It's the fifteen minutes of yoga stretches, and fifteen minutes in the sauna, yow, a stinging HOT shower. I walk out of there sucking down a Red Bull and feeling like a goddess. I'm like, bring it on, bitch. I'll do anything to get a semblence of "quiet mind." Honestly, the thinking, ruminating, plotting, planning, the analysis of other people, the way I parse my dreams, relive history, the imagined conversations with people I don't know, the way I am always writing something in my head--- there's no room! The traffic jams inside my head! The voices. And I am not crazy. But if I go to the gym, if I work my body, meditate, which I do--- I would never watch TV, I think that's crazy--- if I do these things, I can get control. Focus. I can walk out of there with a song in my head, nothing else. Or like this morning, walking back on Atlantic, big fuzzy hat on my head, I was laughing over "Help I'm being held hostage in a luxury hotel."
I was laughing because my ex husband and I ran a theatre on the top floor of a luxury hotel. We lived there, conducted all our business there. We did everything; chose the show, cast it, rehearsed it, designed it, built it, marketed it, performed and stage managed it, ran props and lights, the box office, everything. Everything. At first we lived there, at first we took some lousy amount of money, like $300 for the both of us, but we were in our 20's and this was 20 years ago. Anyway, when we lived there, the box office number was our home number. We had just produced, "I Do, I Do," a resounding success. Now "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" was up and we had zero reservations. Nothing. Nada. We sat in our luxury hI'otel suite, overlooking the ocean, staring at the phone, "Ring motherfucker! Ring!" We weren't being paid enough to move out, all our meals were covered, so that's what we used to say, to everyone, "Help we're being held hostage in a luxury hotel." And in a way, it was true. One night PJ (my ex) was the lead in a Marvin Hamlisch musical, can't remember the name, but he forgot the lyrics to the song he was singing, I mean the man was completely burnt out, he was toast. I was onstage as a chorus girl. The song is called, "Fill in the Words." But he couldn't. Fill in the words. He kept singing that over and over and I knew in his head he was screaming, WHAT ARE THE WORDS? Eventually we were both toast. Walked out without so much as a fare thee well, escaped to Key West, came back home and we were like, "You get a job." "No, YOU get a job."
For awhile it was a great gig. I am particulalry proud of the costumes I designed for "The Roar of the Greasepaint." Ultimately, this was production was referred to as "Lillian's Folly." I checked out the cast recording from the library (old school alert!). Fell in love with the Anthony Newley singing, "Who can I turn to when nobody loves me..." When I received the libretto in the mail, I was horrifed, I chose the musical based on the music. I did not know the story. Long story short, it was racist. The show was booked. The early PR had gone out. There are three or four children in the show, and I was hand painting Ked's in bright primary colors. We were committed to it. But I couldn't, I wouldn't do the show as it was written. We either re-distributed the lines of the "Black Man" to the children, or cut them completely. I can't remember. But it became a version I could live with.
Today I read with shock and awe about the investor who gambled and lost a 50B fortune, who has ruined lives, etc. And this of course along with the corporate bail outs, the mortgage backed securities. Recently a credit card of mine with a decent APR became a credit card with a 25% APR. I was told that I could take or leave it. I could cancel the card of course, but they would not guaratee how this would affect my credit rating. I am between a rock and a hard place. Was I bad person. I don't think so. I was one day late with a payment. The APR rocketed up to 18%. I called them up. What can we do about this? They said, keep paying your card on time and we will lower it again. So I did. I did exactly that for almost a year! My reward? 25%. And what I would like to know is this--- are the two related? Are the corporate bailouts partially to blame? Is it the deregulation of the banking industry? Isn't 25% ursorious? Is this an episode of the Sopranos and I owe money to the mob? Because that is what it fees like.
When I said this to the representative on the phone, she put me in touch with a credit counselor. I don't want to see a credit counselor. I am your typical academic/writer type. I am in debt. I am not a blue chip client. I don't have a Black Am Ex and have particuarly aspire to one. But I was on top of my debt. I was manging it. So I don't want a counselor, I want a lawyer and I want to get a group of people together and throw some motherfucking tea into the Boston harbor. Hijacking a credit card with an impossible interest rate should be a crime. To have no legal resource to this is a crime. Is all this related? Am I, on some level, paying for this man's crime? Is this part of the crash that began with Enron? I'm angry but I am not panicked. I do expect the economic climate to change. I do expect that that the 44th future president of this country will do something for me. I do. I believe this. The day Barack Obama was elected was one of the happiest day of my life. I expect great things from him.
I expect him to begin to pass legislation that will ease the economic burden of people like myself, middle class, average debt--- I need more tax breaks, please. I am teaching your children. I am paid a high hourly, but this refers only to contact hours--- when I am in the classroom--- it does not apply to the time I spent outside of class. I need a tax break. I do valuable work. I am single. I do not have children. It shouldn't matter. I contribute in other ways. I am a hard working productive strong and intelligent woman. I love my students and I make a difference in their lives. This should count for something. It needs to count for more. It should not be legal to charge me 25% on less than $3,000 of debt. Come on.
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