Consider this: when one client is slow to pay, that's a nuisance, an irritation. When all of them get the bright idea to stiff me, it's a catastrophe. A meltdown.
I've been working regularly, but have not received a check from any client in seven weeks. As one of those who lives paycheck-to-paycheck, you can imagine what's that does to me.
Those with whom I work directly claim to have nothing to do with this. "It's the bookkeeper," they say. In two instances, the bookkeeper is a ne'er-do-well relative of the publisher, and does not talk to peons like me.
When I am late with checks, my landlord gets testy. As well he should; it's not his problem. When I am late paying AT&T, I am plunged into a mad world of computers dunning me with voice-synthesized rudeness.
The worst aspect is, of course, that I would be happier than anyone if I had enough coin in the bank to pay everyone instantly. That seems such a happy state of affairs.
Oddly enough, I am at most angry with the above-named people. The only tormentor that draws my hatred is the freekin' AT&T computer.
Then there are "friends," none of whom read this journal, thank God. Consider the one whose business is making pretty good bread now and has gotten freebie help from me in the past: he's not willing to take his time to help me get anything remunerative going for myself, even though he knows the people who could very likely get it done. And would be paid for doing so, I might add. He did call this morning asking for a favor....
Let's not forget D., the photographer. He has all kinds of work for me. But it's all for publications that pay late, and don't pay enough. And when he gives me "all the information I need," I know I might as well bin it. It'll be worthless crap that makes me go back to Square One and reinvent the wheel, story-wise, every time.
I actually like both of these people.
And, of course, there are the women who have made my life so
What brings all these unlikely people together is that they have treated me as if I'm worthless, almost as if they despise me and always have. Or maybe I over-rate them and they simply are devoid of any perception, decency or human feeling. I have to believe they get sick kicks out of toying with me as if I was a fish on a line, otherwise they'd toss me the occasional bit of concern and attention just to keep me from going under.
After all, each and every one has made it clear, at one time or another (some regularly), that they need me.
Any one of these little problems I could deal with. But they keep coming in an unrelenting stream, unrelieved by anything positive. I can't deal with all of them, all the time.
Each is a domino, and as each problem collapses into the next, I lose track of the game. And lose heart.
People are bugging me today, as you no doubt can guess.