Don’t Bite That Hand

I’m going to bite that hand. In this space, it’s what I do. I watched my Mom approve welfare for her clients as I grew up. I know the social safety net exists. I’ve benefited from it over almost four decades. Over 10 years ago or so I came to a place with Social Services that was good for me. They don’t like me and I don’t like them. I apply for benefits, they turn me down, I get annoyed at the intake process and resolve to never darken their doorstep again. The last time I was there was 2008 or so. I’m in no hurry to try for Food Stamps again. Forget TANF.

A big part of my means of getting through the gaps in employment has been unemployment compensation and the benevolence funds of a couple churches. It is how I’ve kept my rent paid and the lights on in previous job searches. When UberX launched in Richmond I became self-employed. I had an income stream from the private sector. One of my friends suggested I skip applying for unemployment and just trust God and my UberX gig. It worked. Then I got the Bing/Uber Maps gig that paid double what I usually make.

I can think of at least two of my friends that hate capitalism and believe fervently that we would be better if they could just replace the government with collectivism. I think they are fools. They are serious enough about this that they refuse to hold a “real” job. One owns property near Bowling Green. The other has some savings and is living on his capital gains. When I bitch to them about troubles with unemployment a confused look grows across their face. The unspoken is, “why do you even bother?”  The answer they have is to live in the grey market with as little a footprint in the white world as possible. I’m beginning to see the wisdom of that.

My first job that lasted was cab driving as a member of Berkeley’s Taxi Unlimited collective. I’m all about hustle. I made money on numbers. I chased after as many $5.00 rides as I could get. I depended on dispatch for most of my revenue. It became a career. I treated UberX the same way. My rating is 4.62. My ride acceptance rate is above 95%. My goal with UberX was at least 20 rides per shift. I did ok.

Right, back to what I was saying. Like with Social Services, I’m starting to feel a cold shoulder from the Employment Development people. They feel like the same annoying bureaucrats that work for Social Services. A month ago my former employer stopped my benefits because s/he claimed I’d been let go for non-performance. The hearing to contest that was this morning. The decision didn’t get rendered because my employer missed the call for the hearing.

A lot of coincidences. A lot of premises that don’t exist in the same logical domain. I should not infer anything from them. I will, though. This space is of the absurd. My inference: that as a Christian, as a follower of Christ, and thus, not of this world, the world is a bit annoyed with me. I’m good with that. There is a way to keep my bills paid that is of Christ, of God, and not of this world. I haven’t worked it out all the way yet. But it’s where I want to go. The world as I know it seems to be going to shit. Jesus is forever. I’ll rest in Jesus.