2019 in Review

I’ll start my 2019 in review here. In October I turned sixty. That’s officially old to me. The boomer thing of “sixty is the new thirty” doesn’t work for me. I don’t want a redo. I’m here on the final third after forty years of fits and starts at picking a direction and succeeding with it.

In August of 2018 Compucom and Altria let me go. There was no explanation. Just Steve walking me to the door and collecting my badge. I decided I wasn’t going to look for another job. I don’t fit the corporate world. 1995 to 2018, 23 years trying to enjoy wearing business casual clothes and pretending I’m just another cube rat. Steve did me a favor.

The Stick Car 2019 in Review
The Stick Car

I am a rat—a rat king. My place, though, isn’t in a cubicle. It’s behind the wheel of a taxicab hunting for money. Since 8/2018 I’ve been doing Rideshare through Uber & Lyft. My idea of a company became a fact. @transitwebb is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Baugh Holding Company. Today it is the legal entity for my rideshare work. In the next four years, it needs to be a multi-million dollar competitor in the transportation business in Richmond, VA.

@transitwebb

Impossible Rats

Impossible? Probably. This rat has been in business for himself 478 days as of this essay. In those days he started the business with a single paycheck from his previous job, a Subaru Legacy and nothing to lose. Since then the Subaru was in a wreck and can’t be used for rideshare any longer. The rented 2015 Chevy Equinox gave me a year of business before being turned in for a newer Chevy Equinox that was wrecked before I got it. Which meant I couldn’t keep the newer Equinox. Which meant I didn’t have a car for work.

Also in 2018, my Dad’s chronic heart disease put him in the hospital twice, each time scaring us that this time he would go home to Christ. The first call came at the end of October as I was pulling out of McGeorge Toyota on West Broad. As I headed down West Broad Street I told my sister I’d start the drive to South Jersey in the morning.

Long Live the King

When I got to Kennedy Hospital my Dad was in bad shape but on the mend. While I was there he managed to sit up on his own. The docs cleared him for release and he went home. I went home feeling good that he’d pull through again.

I’ll get back to what happened with the work car story. Looking back at my facebook posts from October of 2018 I was conflicted. Yes, I’d like to see him heal. Also, he’s 86 and at some point “extraordinary measures” don’t seem compassionate to me.

My Dad went home to Jesus on December 5th, 2018. He was 86. He died in my sister’s arms after trying to get to the car and a doctor’s appointment and falling. When people die things don’t just stop. They leave behind an estate and a legacy. The survivors gain the task of wrapping up a lifetime of assets. It took until March of 2018 to finish my part of that. My sister Linda is the executrix and still has work to do.

Slack Wire Cottage

My Dad’s passing set a tone for most of this year. I tried to make a home in a cubicle because of him. His fondest wish for me was that I’d find a nice, white-collar union job and stick with it. Doh. Sorry, Dad, I ran out the clock on that one. His fiscal security came from a lifetime of prudent saving and investing. Yeah . . . well . . . my rent got paid on the 5th this month. I haven’t paid the light bill yet. Savings? Is $23.00 enough to retire on? No. Ruh-roh.

Where I thrive is on the edge of disaster with no safety net. I’m at my best when life is at its worst. I also am fearless when everyone can’t figure out how to accomplish a goal. Not knowing how to do something isn’t a hindrance to me. So my nirvana is dystopia where all the king’s men are bending over to kiss their own ass goodbye and nobody knows what to do.

$1500 to my name and at least that in bills, just got fired and I decided to start a business. My Dad falls ill and I have enough cash to buy gas to get me to South Jersey but that’s it. It’s a shitshow and reasonable to believe it’s all going to fail. Yet it didn’t.

Miriam 2019 in Review
Miriam

Miriam

So, back to the car. I inherited some money from my Dad. Not a lot but mayhaps enough to fix my Subaru and put a nice down payment on a new car. The rental car company claims I wrecked their car. They are wrong. Their car had damage to the front fender that made the driver’s door rub on the fender. I didn’t think much of it until two days later when I worked a half-shift and took a closer look at it. I initiated a call to have it fixed that within a few hours became an at-fault accident report. No newer rented Chevy Equinox for me.

All is well that ends well. Over a week in September of this year, I talked with Richmond Ford about buying a new Ford Flex. They said yes to me so now I have a huge loan for a new Ford Flex. It’s not cheaper than the rental but it’s new, it’s a loan so I’ll have equity over time, and because of depreciation, it’ll be paid for sooner than the 3-year note.

2019 has been a milestone year for me. When my Dad died I inherited the patriarchy. I am the oldest male on my bloodline. We are not a family that takes kindly to kings. We bristle at the scent of imperialism. So my reign is an odd one. I rule over a contrary bunch of women who think of me as the odd duck who does crazy oppressive shit.

King of the Impossible

The king metaphor is important to me. I’m not the troublesome prince that gives the family nightmares. I am the king now. What I do, how I serve, affects my contrary kin. I am consequential in a way I wasn’t before my Dad died. It is good to be king. It is also terrifying.

60 and the average life expectancy in the US is 79 years. If I make the average I’ll be having beers with Jesus in 2038. 19 years to finish strong. A generation to fill the royal shoes of my Dad—starting from my usual dystopia and confusion.

I’ve heard it my whole life, “you can’t do that. You aren’t capable of it. You have no resources and no plan. It’s going to fail.” Yeah. Then I do it.

Many Decembers as I look at my life it’s not a happy time. The level of shitshow is acute. Dystopia and disaster loom once again. Death is sleeping on my couch. Here I am anyway.

This December the lights are on, the house is warm, I own the car I use for work, my cash flow is improved. It’s still a shitshow but the feared dystopia is dimming in the starlight above my house. I am a king, mayhaps a bit too pitiful but a king nonetheless.

Last thing, the WU folks (formerly PUDFARB and now World Union) are rather desperate. They hate the idea that I’d launch a podcast mocking them. Sucks to be them. Look for WUPR to launch in 2020.

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You So Sadomasochistic

First Posted 28-Oct-2014

I may be repeating myself. It is something I noticed as an Americorp Volunteer at Boaz & Ruth. People who had been horribly abused as children sought out adult relationships with abusers. It was as if because of some unresolved business with God the evil of their parents drove them to carry it into their adult life as they sought partners. Children of drug addicts somehow found their greatest love in other addicts and drug dealers. I’ve learned of late that some of the crap I went through as a kid is an inheritance from my grandparents and perhaps further. Lovely.

shacklesI live in the capital of the South. Richmond, VA is one corner of the slave triangle. The other corners are London and the West African Coast. The wound on the soul of slavery is still felt deeply here. It still festers in the hearts of our ancestors, slave and slave owner. The abuse perpetuated was horrid. The inherited bitterness deep and hard to heal. “Why can’t you just get over it?” If you have been abused you know. It isn’t something you just get over. So much of your life is colored by the scars of the abuse. The physical wounds heal. The psychological wounds can be a chronic illness that is difficult, perhaps impossible to heal. You don’t just “get over it”.

We elected a black President. Good on us. He is not, as is popular to say in the conservative press, HRH Obama. But the way some of us have responded to him, the expectations we have placed on him, feel to me like slaves wanting to return to the plantation and shackle themselves to involuntary bondage and whippings. It feels like some of us are seeking from him the very sorts of behavior we despise because it hurt us so. I hope you are mad at those words. You should be. Obama needs to succeed as a president, as a man without regard to race. That his popularity is fading among some because he didn’t buy them a cell phone and a Cadillac should expose a flaw in the character of our culture. It should not be a metric of Obama’s performance as president. It should also reveal a need to continue to heal the wounds in our culture which drive us back to the destructive relationships we left.

That itch to seek justice from the sumbitch that abused us, just drives us back into the hell we so passionately say we never want to return to. The healing has to come from forgiveness and a healthy relationship to God. We need to leave our sumbitch alone. One more thing, though. I am saying we need to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. I’m not saying that we should forgo seeking appropriate justice. Choices need to have consequences. Folk that are behaving in a dissonant or damaging way need to be called to account. Most of the time this means involving the cops or other appropriate support. It’s not something we should do on our own.

This relates to Obama how? We have to stop electing politicians we elevate to demi-gods or kings. We have to stop putting them in power expecting them to stop abusing us, wrap us in material comfort, and attempt to fill the God sized hole with pleasures or things of this world. We have to get over the idea that a president is good or bad based on whether he buys us a Cadillac and a cell phone. Obama can’t do a lot of what we wanted him to do. We have to do it person by person, at the local level. That’s how we break the cycle of bitterness we have inherited.

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