Whoever said “Old age ain’t for sissies” wasn’t kidding.
This past Monday, it was a perfect storm for the day from hell. I’ve been surviving on Social Security Disability for three and a half years. I’d rather be working, but all the radio jobs that were lost during the recession are permanently gone. I was going to sell my book about my time being homeless, as an agent I met over four years ago, told me to write it and he would make me a bestselling author. Since I’m only about 75% done with it, I instead sent him a manuscript of a mini-novel I wrote in 1987 and just found in my storage unit to try and get some cash flow until I could finish the homeless book. I emailed it to the agent and called a week later to see if he had received it and had a chance to read it. I left a voicemail and he called back. To tell me they were not accepting new clients. I reminded him that he had been leading me on for over four years and that I was almost done with the other book. He said “such is life” and hung up the phone. Talk about having the carpet yanked out from under you! Took the wind right out of my sails. Everything I have tried to do to get out of this poverty bullshit has not worked. And the one thing I thought would be my saving grace was anything but. That was a week ago. Now back to Monday.
I had been sick with two infections for a few weeks and kept telling my friend Rodney that I would take him to Costco. I have had problems with my car. I just replaced all of the hoses, yet there was still a leak. I took it to the mechanic last week who said there was a leak in my water pump and it would cost $200 to fix and that he didn’t want me wasting my money because with all of the overheating that had occurred due to broken hoses, he feared my head gasket would go within 6 months and that’s easily a $2000 job. Which is $600 more than I get a month. He told me to just make sure there was water and antifreeze in the radiator every other day. I topped everything off Monday before I went to pick up Rodney. It smelled like rubber burning, and I told him it was the stop leak I put in, like the mechanic told me to. We got about halfway to Costco when the car stopped. The water pump died. It was 80 degrees out. I called the insurance company to get a tow and they told me that I didn’t pay my bill. Um, yes I did, I tell them. I have the receipt in my email inbox. He put me on hold as I watched my battery drain. I hung up and called my agent. But it was President’s Day and he was off. I called the tow line back and they said they checked and yes, I did pay my bill. It would be at least an hour and a half for a tow truck. I had no choice but to wait in the heat. I texted one friend who lived nearby to see if she was home and could bring me some cold water. I didn’t get a response. So I texted another nearby friend. No response. I then texted the guy who has called me his girlfriend for the past four months to see if he was in town. No response. I finally got a response from the second friend and she brought me some water. While waiting for her, another lady stopped by and asked if I needed anything and I said cold water. She said she wanted to do more. I jokingly said a car that works. She said she had an old car she called Nixon because it was ornery but still ran. She said she wanted to donate it, but her mechanic told her to sell it. She asked if I would buy it for $10. Sure, I said and gave her my business card with all my information on it. I still haven’t heard from her. Tow truck finally got there and took me and Blanche (that’s my car’s name) home. Rodney had called his roommate to come get him. But I still needed to go grocery shopping and pick up my asthma medication. My neighbor allowed me to drive her car and on the way back, the guy who has been calling me his girlfriend for the past four months, called. My phone was in a bag and I was driving anyway, so I called him when I got home and could plug in the phone.
The day before had been Valentine’s Day and I got him a little something, some good dark chocolate because he likes that better than milk chocolate. I had texted him to see if he was coming over Sunday, but then got sick and said let’s meet up later in the week. Monday morning, I had jokingly sent him emails about some boots that were on sale I was looking at, saying he could buy them for me, since he’s always saying how rich he is. I sent some texts to tell him what size and color and then told him to read his email. Apparently, all of this communication was too much for him and that’s what he called about. Asking me not to send him stuff during work hours because then he has to stop and read everything in case it’s an important text. He could do what I do and assign different sounds to different people so I know without having to look, who it is. But he doesn’t so he has to stop. And I made him stop at least four times. Then he said that he wasn’t my boyfriend and why was I acting like he was? Um, because for four months you’ve called me your girlfriend, that’s why. Because when you come over to my place we end up in bed? Because we talk every day, sometimes for hours on end? Because you’ve not only said you loved me but you have shown it? That would lead one to believe she is your girlfriend and you are her boyfriend. Thing is, he’s married. He’s insisted since I found out and confronted him with it – I flat out asked on our first date if he had ever been married and he said he had been – that they were only business partners and that’s why they are still together, to keep the business. He’s a plumber. I accept his answer but lay down the rules if we are to continue as boyfriend and girlfriend that he will no longer lie to me and no one gets hurt. I find out his wife is hurt by his infidelity, it ends. Turns out I have friends that work with her. He agrees and we continue on as girlfriend and boyfriend. Until Monday. When he informs me he is not in fact my boyfriend. What do you think about that, he asks. What do I think? I’ve just had one of the shittiest days after one of the shittiest weeks after one of the shittiest months and what do I think that I am no longer your girlfriend? As he would say, Are you kidding me? He then asks if I want to work for him, help him with his paperwork and he’ll compensate me. I remind him that I suggested that, without the compensation, when we first started dating. You could do that, he says. Then he changes course and says since I don’t have a printer for my laptop and I sleep all the time (you would too if you were fighting off two infections, ya little prick!) that I wouldn’t be able to do that. Next thing I know, he’s telling me he’ll call me back in an hour because he has to pee. He tells me not to fall asleep and hangs up. The tears come fast and furious.
Ninety minutes pass and the phone rings. I had just put a baked potato in the oven as I had a steak thawing and had bought some asparagus at the market. I answer it, knowing it’s him because he has a ring all his own. He asks why I called. He tells me to talk because I called him. I said, no, you called me. He begins slurring his words and I know what he’s been doing the past hour and a half. He’s probably drunk an entire fifth of whatever the liquor of the night is. I told him I don’t want to talk to him when he’s drunk and I reiterate that now. He keeps up with what did I want to talk about. I hang up on him. He calls back and I let go to voicemail. And the tears start flowing again.
Many reading this will wonder what they hell did I see in a drunk married plumber? We made each other laugh, we could talk for hours on end about anything and just enjoyed being around each other.
I’m better off without him, my friends tell me. But he’s the first boyfriend I’ve had in 25 years. Twenty five years ago, I was engaged to be married and the jerk broke up with me over the phone, saying he was afraid I would get fat like my mom and that he didn’t want a fat wife. I did get fat because those words hurt. And I swore off men because they were all assholes. In fact that’s what I told my most recent boyfriend (who is no longer my boyfriend) when he asked why I didn’t have a boyfriend. Because men are assholes was my answer. He looked at me, grinned and said he wasn’t.
Wow, the lying began at the very beginning even before he asked me out.
To add to the misery is this thing called menopause. That’s why the tears came fast and furious. That’s why I was sick on Valentine’s Day. My hormones don’t know which way to go, which way is up, which way is down. And I’m in the middle of this swirling vortex of emotions and hormones with a broken car and a broken heart.
Old age may not be for sissies, but middle age heading towards old age isn’t for any sane human female being. Because the sanity goes the moment the vortex begins and your life unravels right before your very own eyes.
That’s me. Right now. Swirling in the vortex, not able to control one damn thing.