The Pen

I’ve been waiting for a check to arrive for some time now. My editor asked me to send him an invoice for $1000, and since I didn’t know how to format one, I emailed his administrative assistant. If I read her response correctly, she was going to draw one up for me that I could use as a future template. That was a week and a half ago. I’d really like to get that money now. It’s not just so that I don’t have to ask my father for cash every time I want to buy chapstick. I need to know that someone is being influenced by the work I do. I’ve never been this isolated. I have no steady job and I live in the quietest neighborhood you can possibly imagine. If I want to see a friend, I have to drive for at least an hour just to get back into the area. There are no friends left in my hometown. They’ve all either moved away or moved on.

I don’t want to buy anything too extravagant with my money. There’s a pen down at a local stationary store that I’ve had my eye on for some time. What can I say? I’m fancy that way. I do a lot of writing longhand, and I don’t like cheap notebooks or ballpoint pens than can be bought by the handful at Walgreen’s. This pen is something else. It’s a serious pen, the kind that should be used for signing multimillion-dollar business deals and drawing up a will. I really don’t see why it’s so much to ask that I buy it with my own money rather than charging it to my credit card like I do with just about every other damn thing that I buy. But I need the check from my editor in order to do it. I refuse to pay for it with anyone else’s money.

There are times when I feel like someone is laughing at me. For the past week, my entire day has centered around my mailbox. Every day, I wait eagerly for the mailman to arrive, and when I open the box up to find nothing but bills for my father and junk mail, I am inevitably disappointed. Sometimes I find myself fighting the urge to punch something. What makes it especially painful is that I know the check won’t arrive, but still look forward to the mail. That mailbox has more power over me than an inanimate object has any right to.

Something snapped today. I checked my mail, ran an errand, and as I was returning, almost collapsed right there. I just want to buy that fucking pen. Why can’t I? Yet I doubt the check will arrive tomorrow, or the day after. At this rate, I’ll have left for grad school by the time it gets here. This is not a sustainable way of living. I can’t spend all day waiting for something. The universe is indifferent. It doesn’t care what I do while I wait for the check. It continues to deny me something I desperately want, and I continue to suffer. I wish there were some way I could hit back. This is all I get.

My Internet just went down. When this happened a week or two ago, I got very angry. Someone is testing me, wanting to see if I’ll react as violently as I did last time. I won’t. But I won’t say I’m happy. If there were something seriously wrong with my computer, I’d get it fixed. But my Internet goes down every so often, for no apparent reason, and comes back the instant I’m starting to lose hope. Far too many things work that way.

I keep looking for a way to just push away all of the things that make my life difficult. It never seems to work. No matter how hard I try to do without them, they always find a way to come back and bite me in the ass. It would be nice to assume that my Internet is going to work every time I use my computer, but that can’t happen because someone, somewhere delights in watching me suffer. Nothing I can do has any impact on it. When I asked my dad to look at my computer, the Internet came back right then and there. He didn’t even do anything. Funny how that happens. I can point to countless similar incidents that have occurred over the past few years. I never feel in control. Everything happens to me, as if I’m simply sitting in my room, minding my own business when ninjas break through the window and take away my Internet. I didn’t do anything to them. But they’re ninjas. What do you expect?

I had a roommate last year who was somewhat of a difficult case. She found out she was pregnant shortly after I moved in, and being a single mother with limited funds, began to take out all of her personal problems on me. By the time she was done, she was kicking me out of the apartment for leaving a jar of jelly on the counter while I ate. Just once, I’d like something shitty to happen to me that’s actually my fault. But it never works that way. Everything I do, both good and bad, has no impact on anyone that I can see. This blog rarely gets more than 20 hits per day, about 90% of which come from my Facebook friends who are following the links I post on my profile. I suppose there are worse ways to live. I don’t wish I were pregnant. But I’m pretty sure my former roommate doesn’t wish she were me.


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