I've been sitting here, today, on my couch, knitting. And thinking I'm one of the luckiest people around. Lucky, fortunate, spoiled to a small degree. Let me tell you why.
First of all, I'm an idiot when it comes to my own bank account, and you should know that I completely blew a paycheck on overdrafts and fees. Yep. The whole freaking thing - GONE. And yet I survive. A friend put gas in my car, I had enough on gift cards for necessities like cat food, and I'm going to be OK. More than OK. Three squares a day, plenty of vodka in the house. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a friend that'll fill your tank and so few responsibilities that a dozen cans of Fancy Feast will meet them. And I did it to myself - I wasn't robbed or scammed or cheated. Well, overdraft fees are a little exorbitant, but you know what I mean.
If you're not from St. Louis, you may not have heard about our big storm, or what I like to call "Tree vs Car Round 4." If you remember, round 3 last November resulted in a smashed passenger door, over which the insurance company saw fit to total my car. This time around, I was lucky.
The blue one without the tree on top of it is mine. The van belongs to a man across the street who I don’t like very much. Ah, karma.
I stood on the porch with my neighbors and watched the storm, took some pictures. When the rain abated we all went out into the street to pull the fallen limbs onto the sidewalks. By then the power was out. Over and over I heard people say, “It’s like a war zone.” War zone? Are they kidding? Haven’t they been watching the news? Missiles, sirens, homes destroyed, friends and family killed – that’s a war zone. Corpses and unexploded bombs laying in the street make a war zone, not a few tree limbs. We are fortunate that this is the scariest and most dangerous thing to happen to us this summer.
Even so, over half a million people were left without electricity in 100 degree heat. Yes, I said half a MILLION. Even the breeze was hot. I woke up at 6 in the morning so that my hair would dry. I sat on the balcony, reading a book, thinking about the job interview I had and how a blow dryer would have been really nice. But again, I can’t complain. I don’t need to find a job – I have one. I may really hate it there, but they still pay me every two weeks and will for the foreseeable future. There are thousands of people who would kill for an interview, to have someone give them a shot at a job and an income. The place I interviewed with is looking for people with experience with a particular software package. Only four people in the city have that and I’m one of them. I’ve known about this job opportunity since last fall, but I didn’t want to leave where I am due to seniority and benefit reasons. But lately, since they’re still looking, I thought, “Why not? Through out a big salary and see what happens.” So that’s what I did, frizzy hair and all. Cross your fingers for me? When I got home, my power was back on. I’m sitting here with AC and fans and movies and internet and video games while other people are suffering. It’s the kind of lucky I’m not comfortable with, but Ameren makes those decisions, not me. For the sake of the two-month-old downstairs, I’m glad it’s on.
The office, however, still doesn’t have power. No network, no phone system. My boss called this morning to tell me not to go in. So my weekend has turned into a vacation, since I’m off Monday anyway. I get paid by the year, so it’s a good thing for me, but not great for our employees who are paid hourly. They’ll be forced to take a vacation day or go without the wages. It’s not right, but that’s the kind of company I work for, and why I’m thinking about leaving. I’m so lucky that my parents sacrificed and dreamed so that I’d get a college education and the kind of jobs that are salaried. I really do have amazing parents.
So here I am, thinking about everything that could have gone so incredibly wrong but is turning out OK. I really want that job and the money that would prevent situations like this one from happening again, but if it doesn’t work out I’m still employed. My car is intact (relatively) and has fuel. The power is on. I have three more days off. I have kitties to sit in the window with me and watch the rain. I have friends and family. I have a plethera of books and knitting projects to fill the time. I'm one of the lucky ones.
So why do I feel like I’m waiting for a shoe to drop?