Thursday, January 24, 2008

The domino effect.

You know what that is, and it's happening, not in politics or world governments or any of that crap I'm trying to ignore these days, but in my own damn worthless life.

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 hellish interesting. I'm not going into their various fun ways of messing me up but, believe it or not, I still like all but one of them. The exception I'm merely hugely disappointed with. And I continue to worry about another, who is going through difficult times herself. I answered the bell for each of them; they're absent now.

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.


Birdie said...

now, I'm going to put my foot down here....

tell those jerks that you are no longer going to write a single word for them if the checks don't finally show up! Tell them you cannot work for undependable editors. Don't let them feel like you're dependent on them... you must make them feel it's a PRIVILEDGE to have you as a writer! Come on, you have class, you have talent... use it!

It makes me so sad and angry that people are trampling all over you.... you DO deserve better!!

Ok, enough of my rant for today.... {hugs} and good luck!

John said...

I would think some part of this should be made known to a few key people who owe you money.
It's OK to like people who don't care to return favors but it is also OK not to play along the next time they need something and it only drags you down. No is a tough word to use, but a good one.
I've been broke more times than I can count. It sucks. Somehow those who owe have to be induced to pay.

Anonymous said...

You need to do what I am doing...CLEAN HOUSE of the users. I know that some of these are employers...look for work elsewhere. You need money. How the heck ya eating with no money? Don't let these ppl do this crap to you. You deserve so much more...LL

lowandslow said...

Some good advice here, Scribbs. The next time one of the slow pays calls with an assignment, tell 'em you'd LOVE to do that story, but you only have so much time, and you need to please those who pay regularly. "PLEASE pay up so I can do more writing for you." And as you've found out, it's when things are darkest that you find out who your true friend are. Hope mucho $$$$ comes your way tomorrow, friend.


Int said...

Sorry to hear of your state of affairs R. So many people I wish I could help with funds. If I ever win a million dollars :(

People will take advantage when they see that they CAN. In addittion to what others have said, next time request 1/2 down before you send them anything.


Anonymous said...

I stumbled here looking for another blog and got caught up in your writing. I'm a stranger, but found your writing so profound that I felt compelled to leave a comment. From where I sit, you're stuck.
Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life.

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
Abraham Lincoln

Our present attitudes are habits, built from the feedback of parents, friends, society and self, that form our self-image and our world-image.

These attitudes are maintained by the inner conversations we constantly have with ourselves, both consciously and subconsciously.

The first step in changing our attitudes is to change our inner conversations.

What Should We Be Saying?

One approach is called the three C's: Commitment, Control and Challenge.

Make a positive commitment to yourself, to learning, work, family, friends, nature, and other worthwhile causes. Praise yourself and others. Dream of success. Be enthusiastic.

Keep your mind focused on important things. Set goals and priorities for what you think and do. Visualize to practice your actions. Develop a strategy for dealing with problems. Learn to relax. Enjoy successes. Be honest with yourself.

Be courageous. Change and improve each day. Do your best and don't look back. See learning and change as opportunities. Try new things. Consider several options. Meet new people. Ask lots of questions. Keep track of your mental and physical health. Be optimistic.

Studies show that people with these characteristics are winners in good times and survivors in hard times.

Research shows that,
"... people who begin consciously to modify their inner conversations and assumptions report an almost immediate improvement in their performance. Their energy increases and things seem to go better ..."

Commitment, control and challenge help build self-esteem and promote positive thinking.

As far as the people in your life that you feel have shit on you, let you down or are toying with you - It's not about you. The sooner you learn that, the better off you'll be. It's not all about you.