There was no Monday Rant yesterday because I was tired. I was that deep tired in the bones that doesn’t come from the right kind of exertion, but from an inner weariness that sinks you wherever you are, into chair or bed, or floor as you wash dishes and feel like the chore has the power to zap you into nothingness if it isn’t over soon.
The problem, the mess from January is still going on, and I’ll have to go back to the out-of-the-way government office again this week. When they’ve taken care of the problem, as they always say they will, I’ll receive a letter with the correct information on it within a few days. They’ve been sending ones that don’t make sense and contradict what they tell me every time I come in. I’ve been there, waiting hours until my turn, at least eight times since the middle of January. I bring important papers that they make copies of every time. This week I’ll bring them again — on Tuesday, I thought all day. But I’m so tired now, and it’s late and I haven’t been to bed, so I’ll go in Wednesday morning. They say the middle of the week is best anyway. Fewer people come in then. I hoped I’d get the right letter Saturday or today, but it didn’t come.
Last Tuesday I got a phone call late in the afternoon from a woman whose voice I recognized. I could see her face in my mind, one of four I’ve memorized from time spent in that office waiting, listening, and watching. She needed to ask some questions, and my heart started to pound. I silently thanked her because I hoped now I would have one less thing to worry about for a while and I could get back to my work, the only work I know how to do on my own that might elevate me out of this mess and into a “normal” life. It’s hard for me to think and get it done when I’m worried and afraid.
She asked me about the job I listed on my form. I didn’t know what she was talking about. The last time I was hired was during the holiday season in 2010 and they only kept me until January 2011. I heard the woman shuffling papers through the phone. She said all right, and asked about the people I lived with. I told her I lived alone. She asked who Randall was and if he was working. I told her I didn’t know anyone named Randall. She asked if I lived in a suburb I’ve never heard of… My heart sank for a moment as I realized that this was the problem, that we were fixing the problem right then. This was an important conversation. Things could finally be set right. She realized that this other woman had the same name as mine, and that my phone number was on the wrong file. She put me on hold, and when she came back she asked if I had brought in the papers that were photocopied every time I went in. I explained that they’d been copied again just the week before, when I’d been in and they discovered that I hadn’t been given the correct forms to fill out all the other times and gave me the right ones and said my case would be taken care of now. I told her they had lots of copies of my personal papers. She said, “Yes, yes. But you brought them in last week, right?” I said yes.
Well, now I have to go in this week because I know how things work. If I wait too long, they’ll request everything all over again as if we’re starting from scratch and I’ve done something wrong. And I can’t call them to check. They never answer the phone. My stomach is tied in knots. Because this isn’t the only thing that’s wrong in my life. This is just the first domino that knocks the others down one after the other, sinking me wherever I am, no matter how much I try to pretend I’m above ground, or try to distract myself.
Yesterday I distracted myself with an unimportant story on my micro story site, blowing it up into a verrry necessary learning experience because I’m afraid the real work of my project is pointless and won’t go anywhere anyway, because that’s the way my thoughts go when I can’t get the first domino to stand up.
And someone keeps stealing my garbage can. I keep calling the city number for new ones, and after I use a new can once, it’s just gone and I can’t find it. I have a sticker to put on it now so next time I’ll know it’s mine if it’s on the block. I know I’ll have to drag it into my yard and use the lock and key that my ex left for the gate. I get that now, even though I’ll have to put the can outside the fence on the afternoon before garbage day. But I can’t even try that plan if I can’t get to a new can before it’s stolen again. Who would steal worthless city-owned garbage cans week after week after week? Why don’t they care that things are hard all over, and just leave me alone. I’m crying now, but I know I’m not crying about the garbage cans. That business makes me angry. I’m crying about the dominoes.