What is this life?
Having fallen asleep in my chair, I wake up at 2 a.m. and go to my bed. After an hour of not being able to sleep, I get up and make coffee and toast leftover biscuits. I decide to build a fire in the wood stove and go to that corner of the room where it sits. The wet puddle the cat left right at the edge of the plastic I keep under the litter box catches my eye. What is it with this cat that she will not go in the litter box and do her thing? The rage I feel at finding her urine on the floor causes me to forget building that fire. I clean up the piss, growling loudly as I pour bleach on the spot I have just sopped up with kitty litter. She knows I am angry. When I go to find her on my bed upstairs, she sees me coming and runs under the bed. I am determined I will catch her and throw her outdoors, this time for good. She knows the drill and is not having it. I go back downstairs and drink my coffee, eat my toasted biscuits, wondering if I will ever sit and eat at my table with a sense of peace. I rarely sit at the table; I stand at the stove and scarf whatever I am having for breakfast. That is because, ordinarily, my dining table is covered up with too much stuff: mail I have not sorted, wrapping paper I used weeks ago, pens, scissors, tape, clipboard, applications, books, purse, kerosene lamps, plants. Two days ago I organized the stuff on the table, clearing a spot where I might sit and eat. It makes no difference. I know no peace, and I muse on how a cat can infuriate me so.
The few extra dollars from unemployment no longer come. I look for a job online, daily. I have had two interviews thus far. It does not look promising, as I am a lousy typist and my nerves are easily frazzled. I have considered relocating to Fayetteville in order to work, if I can actually land a job. I met a fellow offering a room in his house but the room is taken already, so I applied with the Fayetteville Housing Authority, since my income is way below the poverty line. When I went in person, after a two hour drive to get there, the woman I spoke with wanted my birth certificate to confirm who I am. I told her my birth certificate had burned up in the clinic in Venezuela, where I was born, but that I have a passport. “That’ll do,” she says brightly and takes it to make a copy of it. She returns, saying, “Your passport has expired, so I can’t accept it as proof.” I respond, “Really?!? Am I not here in front of you, and that passport was given me, somehow, telling you I exist! Really?!?” She says, “My boss won’t allow it, and I can’t go behind my boss!” She keeps my application and says “You will have to get the passport renewed before I can accept it as proof.” I say, “It costs over $100 to renew a passport and I am here applying for low income housing. This makes no sense!” Inside my head I am screaming at her, telling her what idiots she and her bosses and all the bureaucracy of the government are. She says, “There is a three to nine month waiting list.” I look at her and say, “Thanks for nothing!” I leave, wishing I could hear the heavy glass door slam loudly behind me. Instead, I hear a muted thud as it closes. Damn! What is the point of trying to do anything? I can’t even get a door to slam properly!
At least it is not zero degrees outside. These last few days have been warmer, compared to two weeks ago when it was three degrees one morning. Twice the sun has been out long enough to allow my going in to the woods behind the cabin to cut a couple of wheelbarrows full of wood. I stacked it on the porch, quite high, so when the next cold front arrives, I will be ready. I figure that weather is just around the unseen corner. For now, I sit here in my leather jacket over the two layers of clothing I have worn for at least two days now. In a way, it is almost easier to keep going on as I have, all these years. I rough it through the winter months that, when it is so cold, feel interminable, but once signs of spring appear, I feel I may make it through. If it were not for the fact that I am now closer to seventy and move with rickety knees, I would not even consider going to a city to live and work. The carrying of water and not having a bathroom is nothing when I think about all the screwed up people I might run into in the city. I am blessed to live here in these woods, in spite of the lack of amenities. At least I do not have to talk to people who are not logical and are so fear-ridden they cannot see or hear anybody else. I rev myself up to go work for an organization or a corporation, thinking I can stay focused and keep a clear mind and then I have encounters like the one a couple of days back and I think, “Right! You are better off where you are, with or without money, with or without food!” If necessity dictates, I will find a way to work with what I have already, which, in my estimation, is a lot. I simply need to break free of my conditioning that judges how my environment appears, both to myself, and possibly, to others, although the latter does not really count, since nobody ever comes to visit me anyway! What is this life? It is a mess, a farce, a laugh, some woe, some awareness, a lot of solitude, and less sleep.