Posts Tagged ‘Great Recession’

 

45554_aafd8ed98befa3d1ec68fc8a4ba7efa6_0504103a098d70298fa7446ce398b2a0Armenian Hostage Crisis (Part 4)

My money-sucking car issues have landed me, in a circuitous sort of way, on Skid Row.

Literally “on” Skid Row.

Turns out Skid Row and the Los Angeles Greyhound Bus Station share the same zip code and, unfortunately, I’m becoming all too familiar with the Greyhound bus station these days.

This time, my second sortie there in six weeks involved an unplanned stroll through the aforementioned world-renowned homeless enclave.

To back up a moment: after 81 days at my mechanic’s auto shop waiting for a new engine, my Volvo was up and running again, bestowed a second lease on life.

Or so it seemed. That lease turned out to be short term–a total of four days to be exact.
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royalty-free-gamble-clipart-illustration-442188The Armenian Hostage Crisis (Part 3)

Some people take a vacation from their jobs. I took a vacation from my car problems.

Yes I was excited to visit a good friend who had just moved to Miami, a place I’d never explored before and was anxious to see.

But I was just as excited to get away from my Volvo XC90, which hadn’t been operational in 61 days. I also wasn’t going to miss “Papa”, the Armenian mechanic I trusted to install a new engine over two months ago. Today, he’s more like my captor than my mechanic.
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slomo(In my daily pursuit to ignite the second-half of life, I came across this. It’s a 16-minute short film (link below) that’s turned heads at film festivals, and now I know why. If you ponder mid-life questions, you might want to watch. You’ll thank me later.)

For John Kitchin, practicing medicine no longer satisfied him. His Ferrari and his 30-acre ranch, populated with exotic zoo animals, no longer fulfilled him.

He left work each day asking himself: “How much of what I did today promoted me financially? And how much of it promoted me spiritually?”

Over the years, the answer became more and more about promoting himself financially.

It made no sense. He was working to support a lifestyle that didn’t make him happy. So he reset his priorities.

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smoking on bus

The Armenian Hostage Crisis (Part 2)

I’m not now, nor have I ever been, a prima donna.

But, was there a time when Greyhound bus travel was beneath me?

Absofuckinglootly.

Why?

Because (the logic went) bus travel is something poor people do. I’m not poor. Therefore the notion is preposterous.

Well, here I am. It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life.

And I’m on a Greyhound Bus.

I love experiencing new things, but Greyhound bus travel never made my bucket list. However, due to new world realities, here I am. This is a financial decision, plain and simple.

Whenever I hear “Greyhound Bus” I think about the guy who stabbed, killed and then decapitated a total stranger sitting next to him a few years ago.

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Broken_CarPart 1
“God save the queen,” my friend shouts, driving off in his Jaguar, leaving me at the Greyhound Bus station in a rather seedy part of downtown Los Angeles.

Very funny. I get the joke. I won a costume contest 20 years ago dressed as Queen Elizabeth, a fact my Jag-driving friend finds extraordinarily funny, and references frequently.

But there’s a double meaning to his queen quip. He’s known me a long time, since the days when I had some money and spent like I had a lot of money. The days when I wouldn’t have dreamed of going the cheapest route, unless it was also the fastest and sexiest route.

And now, in a very different time and place, he was dropping me off at a Greyhound Bus Terminal. Why? Because it was the cheaper of my two options. It was by no means the sexiest option. In fact, “Greyhound Bus Terminal” and “sexy” may be the most polar opposite concepts known to man.

The reason I’m at this Greyhound station epitomizes my riches-to-rags story . Thank you in advance for allowing me to stretch way beyond the definition of both “riches” and “rags”. I’m trying to illustrate a point here.

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running-manThis guy, Michael Ward, worked the same job for 10 years, hammering out a routine that began at 6 every morning. When he got laid off, his internal clock didn’t get the message. He found himself wide awake at the crack of dawn every day with nothing to do. He had never been a runner, but he decided to start. First with just a couple miles a day. And then building, and building and building, and eventually, he ran a marathon. He called running his salvation in a time of tremendous financial and professional strife.

Wow, I totally get that. I’ve been running for years but it’s never been more necessary than in the last year, as I purposely set out to create a new identify after intentionally abandoning the previous one.

Running is now something I need every day, like a glass of Malbec and a few minutes with Jon Stewart. The best thing I did for my health when I was in my 30s was to stop smoking. The best thing I did for my health in my 40s was to start running.

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Part 2 here of our little crash course on D4D 1.0. It follows Part 1. D4D 2.0 is when I spring into action this winter. I’ll stick around afterwards to sign autographs.

images7. Presbyterian guilt?: I used to feel guilty if I spent significant time doing something I didn’t consider either directly or indirectly income producing. That’s why I gave up writing–I couldn’t justify it on the bottom line. And I still can’t, but I’ve learned to get over the guilt and enjoy the pleasure. Everybody has a creative side. If you don’t know yours you should find it, nurture it, and let it reward you.

8. Just Say Yes to Drugs: In the last two years I’ve been on a daily, albeit mild, dose of the ant-depressant Effexor and Ritalin, the latter because I’ve been told I have an attention deficit issue. Hard to say for sure, of course, but something is working. Either the life coach, or the plan to be credit-card free next year, or the new apartment, or the medication. But I can assure you my body chemistry is more stable than it’s been in years. And if the medication is to thank, or even just partially to thank, then I’m going to keep taking it.

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