My big heart flipflopped in a little mixture of hope and despair the other day at work when somebody mentioned that Mel* won’t be on the roster next week as Uni starts and her summer fling at the NEA* will come to an end.
I thought for a moment ‘me too!’. I actually felt an autumnal breeze blowing as I pictured myself trudging up the path, through the gums, to the lecture hall. Then realised ‘no, not me too’, and slammed back to the reality of sitting in the ‘mail room’ opening envelopes and writing up their contents.
I’ve been meaning to write up a list of possible ways to live, which might mean I could go back to being an internal student, but every time I attempt it, it makes me feel depressed. I started uni in 2007 as a part-time internal student – I worked in a cafe 4-5 days per week. During semester holidays I loaded up on shifts to amass my fortune, to get me by during semester. This little routine ground to a halt in late 2008 when the cafe was sold and I didn’t have the heart to work my way up the hierarchy again; I saw less hours looming, as relatives of the new owners were brought in to work and the instability and insecurity of being a casual employee in the hospitality industry hit home.
I became a part-time external student and got a full-time government job in an office and I’ve been slugging it out there ever since. I don’t mind working full-time and studying on the weekends; what I HATE about being an external student is not having the contact with anyone from the university. It’s like being in my own little self-referential feedback loop where I don’t get to hear anyone else’s argument or engage with anyone else’s points. It seems somehow pointless.
Today, I have no money. None till Thursday. This is because I have a constipated cat who has required many trips to the vet. This is not an infrequent occurrence; the no money part. If something ‘out of the ordinary’ pops up – I’m somewhat screwed. Not so screwed that it means I have nothing to eat, but so screwed that I have to live on what’s in my fridge already, which is never very much (it means a lot of eating salad wraps -yum).
This is because I pay $350p/w rent. Which is over half my wage. I could potentially pay around $100 less and live in a unit somewhere in a suburb a bit farther away from where I am. Which, hopefully, fingers crossed, is what I will be doing next time the lease is up. It’s just that, the additional travel required when I move is a big big drawback. There’ve been a few posts over at An Onymous Lefty about housing that I’ve been reading, trying to find a glimmer of hope that things might change. It’s the mindset of commenters like this that I find jarring, specifically this idea;
The status quo may well be working.
People have housing, and it seems all manner of electronic gadgets, fancy cars and a reasonable lifestyle.
I bought a $600 bomb in 2007 in preparation for cutting down on travel time between work and Uni; It’s currently sitting out the front – it has no locks, the windows are unable to be wound up and it’s in dire need of a new set of brakes. My electronic gadget collection consists of this here beloved laptop (bought in preparation for uni) that’s been emitting screeching alarms upon boot, a digital alarm clock, a $40 mobile phone which has no credit, a second hand mammoth T.V which I hear will soon become defunct, a second hand kettle, toaster and stereo. I have a DVD player too, that a friend gave me, which doesn’t connect to the T.V – the T.V is too old or something, a second hand fridge and my new ‘big’ purchases of 2008 were a washing machine!! I love my washing machine and a heater, a heater!!
Fancy car and electronic gadgets my arse.
It’s not that hard to fathom though, I was shocked to realise that my ex who, in the time that I have known him has made at least 6 trips overseas, and knows how much rent I’ve paid for the last few years and who has seen the contents of my fridge, made a reference to a secret stash of money he assumed I had in a bank account somewhere. When I grilled him on how much he thought I might have squirreled away, he estimated $8000. I’ve never had $8000 in my life. The amount of times I’ve had co-workers, parents, neighbours and friends tell me I should get myself this or that product, that is only $__, and I’ve thought ‘only $__ ?. Well, I’ll rush out and buy 4’.
I don’t know what the point of this post is really, kind of a bit of a whinging rant. Waah wah, I wanna go to school, wah wah I can’t because I have to pay the rent, waah waah waah why are the rents so high? Waaah waaah I’m fucking hungry and my cat is constipated. Waaaah waah. Where should I move to? Waaah waaah, when I move will the rent eventually increase so that I’m paying the same as where I am now? Waaah waaah. That would suck if that happened… Waaah waaah ‘cause when you fill out the application they ask how much you are currently paying now waaah waaah, so they know you have paid more in the past waaah waah, and they ask to see your pay slip, waaah waah. I love where I live now, waah waah, I don’t want to move waaah waaah, should I start getting rid of all my furniture now so I don’t have as much to move, waaah waah, I just want to go to school. waah waah at the rate I am going I will finish in 2018 waah waah waaah.
Oh, well. Off to soak some lentils I suppose!
*Names have been changed to protect me!