06 July 2009

The Decline And Fall Of Mortimer

So, I haven't written in quite a while. It's rather complicated and, since I have you held captive, I can explain it all over a few entries and catch you all up on my exciting and painful life.

First things first. I no longer live in the penthouse. There are various reasons why and most of them cascaded like dominoes leading up to my having to move, fast. Rest assured, I have ended up, if not on my feet, exactly, at least not on my hands and knees and homeless (or worse).

Getting fired from my job at the Westside Lounge was not the beginning but it precipitated the eventual outcome. I was making decent money there but not enough to catch up on my rent and bills, the winter and the recession (which we saw coming for a year before) made it harder and harder to make the money I was used to making and living the lifestyle I was used to living. I had been getting deeper and deeper in a hole and things weren't getting any better. Getting fired didn't help matters and having my former manager badmouthing me all over town wasn't exactly conducive to getting another job any time soon. I was also fired at the worst time possible. Not only was there a worldwide recession/depression going on, it was February in Atlantic City, a tourist town notorious for rolling up the sidewalks in September and not pulling it's head out of the sea until April or May. Each day the papers were detailing the layoffs in the casinos, a hundred and fifty from one, three hundred from another, the slowdown of construction on a third. This coupled with the traditional off-season, I was, in a word, fucked.

My home life with the psycho-mate in the penthouse had not improved at all. That was working on my psyche in ways I didn't realize until recently, now that I am out of there. I am naturally very social, I get along with most people rather easily and my relationship with my former roommate, one that spanned nearly twenty years, to have degenerated so completely affected me profoundly and in many unseen ways. I felt I was living with someone I never knew, someone I grew to fear and felt betrayed by. If there was some specific reason for his hatred of me, I have yet to find it. And those who know me personally and through my journals know that I am the first one to blame myself for my problems. I would rather admit blame, make the appropriate apologies and face the music and hopefully work it through and find forgiveness (or not, which is why I am still grieving the loss of two of my friendships that I know I detonated). Facing his relentless derision, day after day with no sign of ending made my home life a particular kind of hell.

With my lack of funds, and since I had been paid under the table for over a year at the Westside, I was also hamstrung in my attempts to get financial compensation from unemployment. My former manager would have blocked any attempt and I wasn't sure I could even collect if I tried.

A month before my dismissal, I had become reacquainted with my former boyfriend and he was generous in his support once I had been discharged, at least for a time. I didn't tell him the extent of my financial woes, but he could tell I was in dire straights and he helped when he could (for which I will be forever grateful). Of course, by this time, things weren't going all that well at his job and he was working less and less and he had his own bills to pay, as well as deal with his current boyfriend and the troubles they were encountering in their relationship (of which I know nothing about and don't want to know, it's their business).

My rent was getting paid piecemeal. I paid six hundred dollars a month and I would pay a hundred here, two hundred there when I could but I was getting farther and farther behind. I did all I could to make sure I could pay my share of the electric bill, even though I was hardly ever there and usually slept and showered and was out once again when I was home. Only the gods know what my flatmate would have done if I was late in paying it. Interestingly, I was basically paying to keep my psycho-mate's dogs warm and comfortable as well as entertained since he left his telly on for them to watch whilst he was at work. The irony is, as some of you may remember, that he disconnected my cable and told me to pay for my own instead of sharing the bill between us because I didn't put the pillows back on the couch the way he likes them. So, I still ended up paying for cable for two dogs to watch that I was denied access to.

Go ahead and laugh. I do.

My landlord was leaving sealed envelopes on my door, which I never opened. I knew what they said, "I need your rent money!", so there was no need to read them. I searched for a job, day after day, in a tourist town in it's off season, in a recession, looking for a service industry position in a town that was laying off and firing all their service industry employees. There was no money to be had and none I could give him. Joe was able to take me out for a meal now and again but things just kept getting worse. I couldn't go to my parents and ask for help, I still owe my mother a tidy sum from her support over a year ago and my father had recently undergone major surgery and was in no condition, financial or health-wise, to help me out. My pride also kept me from asking.

And the size of my mounting debts.

My mobile was kept on by hopes and wishes and the occasional borrowed buck from Becky (of the Art of Flowers, whom I also owe a big debt for all the help she has given me). I needed my phone in order to get a job and luckily Becky allowed me unlimited
computer access so I could keep up with people through the Internet. I wandered the city for hours and hours at a time, wearing a trail down the middle of the boardwalk and wearing the tread off the soles of my shoes.

Finally, one day, I arrived home to see a multi-copied letter attached to my door with my name on it.

An eviction notice.

Now what was I going to do?

More to come...

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