All the experts tell you to put back a couple of months salary as emergency money, you know, just in case. I never expected my “just in case.” Life was good. I wasn’t part of the 1%, but I was comfortable. Debt was under control, I didn’t live beyond my mean. Hell, I still reused plastic margarine tubs for gawdsake.
It began with a serious illness in the boss’ family, then they decided to shut the office down. I had, maybe, a week’s notice. I expected to stay with the company until I retired, but that was supposed to be a few years away, not a few days.
Then, I found out the family had siphoned off employee-tax deductions to pay their medical bills, so none of us had a stake in unemployment benefits. There was nothing in savings and only enough in checking to last me until pay-day… which wasn’t coming.
A brutal assessment of my available assets wasn’t encouraging. I had a little equity in my home, so I sold it and found a smaller place to rent. I gave up some of my luxuries. Cable canceled. I’ve let my hair go natural, and I do my own manicures. Reliving my college days subsisting on ramen and mac-n-cheese isn’t ideal, but I’m not starving.
As the weeks tick by, finding a replacement job has been as futile as a quest for the Holy Grail. No one wants to hire someone my age. I’m overqualified for everything, but I can’t even get Wal-mart to give me a call back.
I burned through my merger resources more quickly than I planned and lost my home. I found a shelter, but was only allowed to stay a couple of days. Now I’m back on the street.
When things were good, I remember reading in the local paper that when nighttime temperatures fell below a certain level, designated community churches open to shelter the homeless. It’s growing colder every day, and I walk the city noting where these shelters are.
The first day of winter weather wasn’t too bad. It was cold, but I still have a blanket and sturdy boots. Yesterday, clouds rolled in and temperatures fell dangerously low. Considering how my life’s been going lately, seems fitting that tonight’s forecast for a hard freeze reminds me of a Shakespearean tragedy. “The third day comes a frost, a killing frost.”