Poor Time

Do you have anyone in your life who has terrible luck? They always have some sort of unbelievable catastrophe befalling them. They are weary and complainy all the time. You start to wonder why their luck is so bad. Is it something they’re doing?

There are several answers here. One answer might surprise you, but I’m going to come out the gate with it: maybe your bad-luck buddy is an abusive man. Two abusive men in my life have fit this profile, and I wondered why people were always doing these shockingly awful things to them all the time. ‘This person stole my business idea’ and ‘this person randomly punched me in the face for no reason’ and ‘this person is refusing to pay me for my work.’ It turns out they had people following him around with pitchforks because they were the ones doing unbelievably awful things to the people around them in the first place.

But if you’re pretty sure that person in your life isn’t an abusive man, consider their socioeconomic status. Maybe they’re just poor! As a poor person, you are under attack at all times. This war takes place mostly in the form of paperwork and really long phone calls or office visits with grouchy people and long wait times. Anyone who’s been poor will nod their heads knowingly, and anyone who hasn’t will think I’m being dramatic.

My husband and I have actually just hopped over the poverty line, and are worse off than when we were poor. But now and for as long as anyone has known us, we’ve been that bewildering bad-luck couple to which insane, predatory shit just keeps happening to. We used to be young and careless and so it was easy for people to take us for a ride. But we’ve learned so much, dear ones. We’ve learned so much.

Just the other day, we had our car legally stolen. The thieves? They said it was our responsibility to pay $350 to get it back.

We were leaving for a happy hour party one Sunday afternoon recently when my husband realized his car was stolen.

When he called the police, they informed him that his car wasn’t stolen but was actually towed, legally, from right in front of the condo we own and pay gratuitous HOA fees for. We would be on the hook for the $350 to get it out. The reason for this? It was suddenly permit parking.

At first we felt sheepish. How long have we lived here? We’ve never noticed signs or anything in the HOA docs about permit parking.

We were already mourning the $350. But then it occurred to us: there really are no signs and nothing in the HOA docs about permit parking.

“Hmmm. How many of the other cars in the lot had permits?” my husband asked the towing company dude.

“None,” answered the dude. He only offered this answer after we asked on like the third phone call. “I think it was a mistake on the part of the HOA. They checked the wrong box on our new contract with them that stated we should enforce permits.”

“So you knew it was a mistake. And yet, you towed our car and possibly others at 1AM on a Saturday night, so that we can’t even get someone from our HOA on the phone until tomorrow?”

“Seven. We towed your car and seven others.”

“Why didn’t you tow all the cars in the lot?”

“We ran out of time.”

“And yet we have to pay for it?”

“Yes, you will have to pay for it. Unless you want to take the risk of waiting until tomorrow to talk to your HOA, but we charge by the day.”

Predatory motherfucking shit. Do you think this happens to the Audis sitting in front of the mansions down the street? No, this happened in a parking lot for condos. If they did this to Mr. CEO with his business connections and on-call legal team, they’d regret it for the rest of their lives.

Poor people are already distracted by the plight of trying to fucking survive. And you already feel like a piece of shit because society deems you as such by not properly compensating you for your work. So the first instinct in cases like these is, “It was probably my fault. I probably overlooked the sign for permit parking.”

Many people just pay up, taking food from their children’s mouths, because they think they have to.

Our health insurance premium through the national healthcare system is suddenly increasing by $700 PER MONTH in a three month period. It’s not increasing TO $700/month. It’s becoming $700/month MORE EXPENSIVE. I have had to sit on the phone yelling at customer service people for like a week.

I’m privileged that I can do that. If you’re poor, you have to go into the kinds of jobs where you can’t be on the phone because they don’t trust you to be a grown-ass adult.

It’s hard work being poor. And it’s impossible for some.

So anyways, my friends and I like to make make jokes about the late people in our lives. My husband is usually on New Mexico time. That’s when you’re so laid back that you literally cannot even make it on time anywhere. My friend Cornelia is on French Time. French Time is when you are so fancy and spend a lot of time getting ready while drinking champagne that you are literally late everywhere every time and people still don’t mind because you bring great happiness to them with your audaciously bodacious outfits.

I’m going to add Poor Time to the mix. Next time someone in your life shows up late, if they’re poor, give them a pass. On top of all the other shit we all have to do like laundry, shopping on Amazon and showering occasionally, poor people are also fighting on the daily just to keep our damn cars and our health insurance.


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