Thursday, June 2, 2011

Life Lessons: Internet, Poverty, Roanoke

Dearest Blog, how I have seemingly neglected you. Let me explain!

Last week, there were some crazy storms in these parts. When our internet began to get temperamental, I wasn't completely surprised. Phone lines were down throughout the valley, and we didn't even have internet at the office last Friday. Then the internet started just... not existing in the apartment. OfficeMate being cursed with being tech savvy was plagued with my unending questions: "Can you make the internet work??" "Why is the internet down?" "THE FOURTH LIGHT ON THE MODEM STILL ISN'T BLINKING. YOU SAID THAT MEANT NO INTERNET STILL. WHAT'S GOING ON?" I generally was told the internet was down, to be patient, and "You have internet on your phone."

Internet on my phone is all well and good, but I can't blog on my phone. I can't apply for jobs on my phone. Google reader on the iPhone is far from fantastic. First world problems are hard.

At the moment, our internet is still down (kind of). The cable in our living room just doesn't want to work, and the one in OfficeMate's room is connected to it. The one in my room, however, just mysteriously appears out of the wall and is seemingly connected to the outdoors (or the guy-below-me-who-I-can-hear-snore). So at the moment the modem is plugged in my room, stretched across my bed to the lone plug in here, with an ethernet cable to get this 2004 piece of machinery on these crazy intertubes.

I digress. It is now June. I have slightly over two months left in my AmeriCorps tenure. I'm legitimately qualified for these jobs I've been applying to. I've begun wondering if I need to start thinking about moving out things I'm not using anymore (winter sweaters, coats, boots, etc). While on one hand, I wonder where the time went and I become all nostalgic for the valley, I am very much ready to continue on to the next phase of my life. Roanoke has been amazing to me (other than having my money stolen, moving three times, losing my computer to a ghetto apartment building, having my car get hit, just to name a few), and Lord knows I'll miss these mountains, but it's time.

I've learned so much this year. I've learned how to stretch a dollar. I've learned how to get by on next to nothing without the assistance of food stamps or handouts (One can absolutely get by on minimum wage in this valley without food stamps. Anyone who tells you otherwise is buying things they do not need). I've learned how to cook so many more things. I've learned how to fill my tires with air (don't mock, I never had a car with tires to fill with air before). I've learned how to write a grant proposal, do development work, look for foundations. I've learned to appreciate the silence and slow nature of my life rather than get antsy about having nothing to do. Well, actually, that one I'm still in the learning process. Just today I learned that a cable splitter can go bad!

But I've also learned that, while I can get by on less than minimum wage, I'd rather not anymore. I miss simple things like a new pair of shoes. I've worn out my clothing since I've moved, since I've bought almost nothing new since I moved and laundromats are eating my unmentionables. I want to be able to buy a new computer when one gets leaked on, without having to worry about financial repercussions. I want to be able to afford rent somewhere other than where the shirtless, seemingly unemployed guy sits outside on his folding chair with his dog and cigarette in the midst of racial slurs and shotgun-toting neighbors. I want to be able to get groceries and an oil change in the same day and not cringe at the thought of my checking account suffering as a result.

My life is not glamorous. I'm not saying it's tough, because honestly, it comes down to creative budgeting and nothing more. I'm not a math whiz, I'm just smart enough to know how much I need to get by. But it gets old, and it gets old FAST. And I didn't go to college to have to be creative with my budgeting, I went to college to get myself a job that allows me to be creative in the office so I don't have to be with my checkbook. I'd rather spend my time at exhibits, concerts or productions than at home crunching numbers or, brace yourself, on the sofa doing sudokus because that's free. I'm just ready to live the life that the rest of my peers have been living for a year. And if you guys haven't been living that life, then stop making it look like you did on facebook! (Facebook creeping is also free) I'm just ready to take what I've learned, and continue on with the rest of my life.Roanoke is a chapter, not the end.

1 comment:

  1. I'm very proud of you! And our lives really aren't as great as we make them look on Facebook--or are they? Come join the real world ;)