thoughts randlomly dropped

18 Jul. 2007 heavy duty film stresses viewers out

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I had planned to write about work again tonight.  Somehow, though, I just don’t feel like it– which is kind of a shame, ’cause there was some chuckalicious stuff going on.  Have to share another time.  So last night d/h and I watched a documentary called ‘Waging a Living’.  If you are easily depressed, I do not recommend this film.  By the time it was over, I had a tension headache, and realized I had been clenching my jaw for more than half of it.  Anyway, the film is about getting by and the different ways we do and don’t.  They had four subjects that they followed for a while, marking the ‘starting point’, the progress and at the end I guess they checked up on them after 6 months or so.  I have been in various places financially in my life.  Currently I’m doing pretty well (knock on wood….)  But I have been (briefly) homeless, I have been on the brink of homeless, and I have gone to welfare for help (which is nothing if not humbling and stressful….)  When I came back to town, with no place to stay and needing a bit of help to get it together the welfare system told me they couldn’t help me if I didn’t have a ‘permanent’ mailing address.  Ummm… homeless?  I tried pointing this out to them to no avail.  They told me no help would be forthcoming without that address, and sent me on my way without even pretending to offer to point the way to a shelter or any other help that I now know to be out there.  I am (and was at the time also) extremely grateful to the kind friends that took me in and fed me during that time.  I’m not sure what I would’ve done otherwise.  I have been late enough on the rent to run right up to getting evicted, and just paid enough in time to prevent it, but I had help then also in the form of my d/h working his ass off for me before he was even husband.  (Thank you dear…I love you)  So, I guess my point here is that I don’t need to watch a film to see how hard it is to get by.  I can look at my own life, and that of my friends and see that it’s hard sometimes.  I think I had hoped that the film would show me that for some people, eventually it will get easier.  It did not show me this.  To say I was weighed down by this film is a huge understatement.  I cried after.  I think part of what got to me is that this system that is supposed to help people only helps for a while.  If you can get them to help in the first place….  Once you begin to take steps forward, they want to yank the entire foundation from you at once, rather than allowing you to build your own a bit at a time and taking theirs away a bit at a time.  I know there are enough people out there playing the system.  I even know some of them.  But part of the reason for that is that the system sucks.  If you make (as in the film) say 8.50 an hour and you get x in food stamps, x for your section 8, a medical card, and child care for your (5 in the film) kids, and you get a raise to say 11.25 an hour (as in the film) you lose the medical card, child care, food stamps, and your housing payment goes up.  In this example the loss of aid was about 150-200 dollars greater than the raise per month.  1 step forward and yanked back 3.  I know our system is overtaxed.  There are too many people who need help.  Part of the answer is a LIVING WAGE, not a minimum.  If you compare the cost of living now to the cost of living 20 years ago, it has gone up.  The average pay, however, has not gone up to meet this.  In my state, the current minimum wage is 6.85.  Try making a housing payment and groceries on that.  Now add medical issues.  Add gas to get to work and possibly a car payment.  How about child care (abstinence only education works so well!!  yeah…)  If you add kids lets not forget the odds that go with them– diapers, formula, baby stuff, clothes, shoes, car seat, etc..  Shit, I had to stop at the housing and food!!  If you are in a couple it’s slightly easier.  The one thing that stood out to me the most was that the woman who got a degree almost immediately improved her situation.  Literally.  She graduated, found a lead on a job, called and went for an interview.  They found out she had an associates degree and immediately increased the pay and benefits they were offering.  No shit.  I don’t know where I’m going with all this.  I guess I just wanted to point out to you and myself that sometimes it’s damn hard to get by.  And I think for the most part, we’re doing a fairly good job.  The best we can do sometimes.  Plus, I think I just needed to get all that shit out of my brain.
On a more pleasant note, I did get to see the new Potter movie.  I’ll stick my own personal review up here in the next few days.  Looking forward to the new book, out in just a few days.  Yay!!  Thanks for readin’ y’all.  Have a good one.


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