Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Bus Tickets and Cell Phones

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Total Black: $97.22
Total Red: $231,308.15

As I suspected in Paycheck to Paycheck, this week’s pay from the temporary attorney staffing agency didn’t post today even though they had told me it would.  This agency pays on Thursdays.  I did receive the paystub in the mail today though.  At least I know how much to expect in my account.  I trust it will post by morning.

Because tomorrow is Thanksgiving, my mother wanted to know when I’ll be arriving home.  Given this bout of uncertainty, I let her know that I couldn’t be sure when I’d arrive, or if I’d arrive, what with my paycheck uncertainty and all.  So she insisted that she would put the money into my checking account for bus fare back to Scranton.  I mentioned in The Powerful Process of Gratitude that my mother had discovered a lump on her ovary.  Two days ago, she had that lump removed.  The surgery went well; she was home the same day.  But now, two days later, she was accompanying my sister, driving her twenty minutes to downtown Scranton, just to put money in her thirty-three year-old son’s checking account so he could buy a bus ticket to come home for Thanksgiving.  Of course, my mother said that she wanted me home for Thanksgiving, so it wasn’t solely for me that she provided that money.  But still . . . .

Trust me, I’m definitely thankful for her love and help.  But I’m also embarrassed.  I was also annoyed too.  I was angry with my mother for insisting on helping me.  Frankly, if pay didn’t come through and I hadn’t saved enough from last week’s paycheck—not that there was all that much left to save, but then again I didn’t have to send fifty dollars to five different creditors either—then I was content to be alone on Thanksgiving in a self-imposed punishment.  If pay had come through in time, then I’d be able to pay my own way home and wouldn’t have had to bother my mother with my worries.  If it didn’t, then I’d get to suffer alone at home.  Her loan took away the possibility to punish myself.  That emotion lasted all of a minute or so.  I was able to check it once I noticed the irritation in my own voice as I tried to end our telephone call this morning in my rush to get out the door.  She had called just before I was leaving for the temp job.  Silly.  Selfish.  I know.  But what distinguishes us from the lower animals is not the emotions or impulses we have but whether we allow ourselves to act on them.  Everyone has inappropriate or unfair thoughts.  And I’m like everyone else in that aspect.

Later today I was able to keep her love at bay, so to speak, when I declined another loan.  Sometime during the day AT&T cut off my cell phone service because I’m late paying my bill.  My mother offered to let me use her credit card to pay the bill.  She was concerned about figuring out when I arrive so that someone can pick me up from the bus station.  Not having a cell phone to call ahead would make coordinating my pick-up in downtown Scranton a bit more hectic.  It’s not like there are many payphones around these days.  Public transportation probably wouldn’t be an option on Thanksgiving morning.  A taxi would cost an arm and a leg.  But, I insisted that I was not going to borrow her credit card so that I could pay my cell phone bill and get service restored.  She’s already given more than she should.  I can acknowledge that.  But a loan to cover a bus ticket is vastly different than a loan to get my cell phone service restored.  Really, that is not critical.  I can find a payphone somewhere.

I’m looking forward to relaxing at my mother’s house.  I haven’t been back since I started this blog project.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

November 25, 2009 at 23:45

2 Responses

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  1. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Your story brought me to tears – it was almost as if I was reading about myself – sick parents, no job, paychecks not going through, overdraft fees. Unlike you this Thanksgiving I declined my family’s offer to pay for my way to visit them – it’s just become too embarrassing. [I’ve been unemployed for a while.] Plus I’ve started hating myself for taking money from my old mom. Anyway, I am sure there are many people like us out there – and you are right we still have much to be grateful for – our health. Just yesterday I saw several disabled people – and I knew despite everything I was still very lucky. I hope your mom feels better.


    November 26, 2009 at 18:05

  2. Thanks Sara. As the saying goes, this too shall pass. We just have to weather this storm. Keep your chin up. Maybe send your mom a card or note to say thanks. I’m sure she knows you’re in a tough spot. That small thank you would probably do you both good.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

    Laid-off Lawyer

    November 26, 2009 at 23:16

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