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Originally I was planning to write the next part of the interview series, but stuff happened tonight that pushed that to the back burner. Probably gonna do it on Wednesday sometime instead. Fits better, since that's the day I do interviews.

In any case, a first happened for me at work today. After working there, on average, 4.5 days a week for over seven years, we finally had a fire large enough that damages were caused an evacuation was necessary. A lot of the responses to that were pretty much predictable (i.e. sophomoric) in most respects, but there was one aspect that I knew intellectually but didn't really predict. That aspect came when the manager told us that there was a chance that we were (obviously) closing up for the night, but there was also a chance that we'd be closed for at least another day or two on top of that in order to assess and repair damages. Cue all the servers freaking the fuck out about being broke and making rent when earlier they were laughing about the whole thing.

Whereas I was able to view the incident with a veneer of detachment and my usual bit of wry pessimism, because as someone who lives rent free at home, I could survive if the restaurant was forced to shut down for a few days. Even in the worst case, I have enough money to pay all my bills for a time.

This got me to thinking: why does living at home still carry a stigma, at least around here?

Out of everyone I know around my age who lives on their own, only a handful are doing it comfortably, and of that handful I know that a few actually have their backs against the wall but are just ignoring the stress. Everyone else, for whatever reason, are being pressed against that same wall. One or two days of lost wages can have a serious impact on whether rent and bills will be met. Debt becomes as much of a companion as a significant other and will probably long outlast any significant other. Even things like school and health care have to be pushed aside because the costs are too prohibitive (or in the case of health care, I know one person who is still paying off medical bills from an emergency from years ago.)

Now, I know that living at home and with parents is not an ideal situation under any circumstance when you get to be anywhere near my age. I have the freedom to come and go as I please, but not everybody does. I can't really have company over whenever, I can't do whatever I want around the house, and heaven forbid I try to bring a lady home for the "evening". For the creative ones, which I fit to an extent, it can also be very stifling. I would love to practice singing or voice acting, but since parents are almost always home I can't really go nuts with it. I also don't get along with my parents very well, so that's another minus. And of course, I know too many people who would consider "still living at home" to be an instant dealbreaker.

Yet, I still do.

I used to bitch about wanting to move out, but lately I realized that I shouldn't be in such a hurry. It could be worse, and quite frankly I've seen enough good people worry themselves closer to coronaries because of needing to make rent or because debts are piling up. I've maintained that while I could afford to move out, I didn't want to be at the mercy of tips and needing to maintain the schedule I have just to be able to -maybe- save a little bit of money here and there after rent and my expenses.

On the evening of July 4, I was vindicated. While several I know are lamenting, I will be confidently striding to the bank, depositing a chunk of last week's tips, paying all my bills for the month, and knocking out a chunk of my own debts. Of course, now that I say it, I'll probably step on a land mine or my car will break down.

Just because I'm vindicated once doesn't mean I'm going to lose my veneer of pessimism.

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jkmoreno

May 2012

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