I’m at the shop right now with my car, Ingrid. She wasn’t feeling well enough to take Dana to work, so we found another way. I’m reminded of another time I had car troubles.
I had just returned to the US after a ten week tour of Europe. I moved in with a friend in Coon Rapids, MN and was working for a small company that provided cares to people with disabilities.
When I moved in with my friend there wasn’t a building manager, so I couldn’t get on the lease. For three months. “Oh well,” though I, “I’ll get on the lease when a new manager is appointed.”
Meanwhile, my paychecks started bouncing. I kept going back to the main office demanding my money in cash with interest and overdraft fees on top of what they owed me. They were pretty obliging.
The last time this happened, I was driving to the bank to deposit my wad of bills. My car started making funny noises which were certainly not funny. It died as I pulled into the nearest gas station.
Great. Now what? I called my roommate for a ride.
“Hey, I’m glad you called. We got a new building manager and she’s not very happy that you’ve been living here without a signed lease.”
“Yeah?” I questioned, having a bad feeling of where this was going.
“Yeah. We’ve gotta be out by the end of the month.”
“Damn. Ok. We’ll figure something — wait a minute. My boss is calling on the other line.” I say as I swap phone calls.
“Hi, this is Benjamin.”
“Hey Benjamin, I have some bad news.” Good grief! “The company has gone bankrupt, and none of us have jobs anymore. Don’t bother going to work tomorrow.”
I sat back in my lifeless car and started laughing. Did that seriously just happen?! I lost my car, I lost my home and I lost my job all in the span of two hours.
I was trying to take it all in when my brother called me. Oh no. Now what?!
“Hey Benj, what are you doing with your life?”
I may have been a little emotional at the time, but my response still wasn’t justified. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?! I’m doing my best ok?! I can’t control whether or not my job goes under, or if my car breaks down!”
“Dude, calm. down. Have you had a bad day?” And this is the point where I realize that he had no idea what had been happening.
“I’m sorry. Yes.” And I spill it.
“That’s great!” He responded to my calamities.
“No, I mean, ‘dude! That sucks.’ But there’s a reason I called today…”
So that week I moved in with my brother. In a homeless shelter.
He worked overnight security for the shelter and they had an unexpected opening. Free rent and food. It was perfect. Except that it was an hour and a half away from Dana.
While I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with old Ingrid, I have to remind myself that whatever it is will not land me in a homeless shelter.