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Taking Care of Business?

Tonight’s a strange, seasonably cold evening, but it seems unseasonable because it has been so unautumnally warm this week. Although I am not planning to watch the West Wing’s live debate between Hawkeye Pierce and Senator Organa, I might watch it anyway—really, it depends on my focus. See, I’ve been occupied this afternoon and evening with a freelance editing project. It’s a macroeconomics essay I’m reading. The writer is trying to discern reasons why, between 1984 and 2004, the economies of the G7 countries have been less volatile than they were between 1970 and 1984. It’s dreadfully dry stuff, but of course as a freelancer I set my own rates; I am therefore certainly not complaining—and if my work helps this young economist get a job, all the better. How long I can concentrate in any single session is the real question.

Unfortunately, this freelancing is the only work I seem to be able to get right now, and it comes too infrequently to be of much comfort. (There is still no word about my interview of a week ago. All I can be certain of is that they finished all their interviews last week. Not knowing is worst on Sundays because the only subject my pastor or his wife seem to feel comfortable talking with me about is to ask whether I have been hired. “Any word yet?” they ask, often instead of saying, “Hello.” I realize they are concerned. I am too. But what, indeed, can I say? Besides, talking to either has been difficult ever since she said to me, with all the cautionary tone of a wagging finger, “You really ought to read Lee Strobel before you read any of the Jesus Seminar scholars. He puts them in the right perspective.” Never mind that I’ve done enough reading of contemporary historical criticism that I can judge for myself where an argument stretches its sources too thin; how dare she caution me not to read, or further, suggest substituting Cheez Whiz for brie? Anyway, that’s one encounter among several that have strained our communications.)

It doesn’t help that the usurers are trying to catch us up. When we learned, last year, that Kathy needed new teeth to fill in the gaps where hadn’t had any since childhood and that the teeth needed to be screwed into place within six months, even though neither of us had a job offer yet, we decided to trust our prospects and to COBRA, and we scheduled the surgery. Unfortunately, we couldn’t pay in cash, and our dentist doesn’t offer an unprotected payment plan. His office instead referred us to (WeDon’t)CareCredit, a company that offers a no-interest line to health care patients so long as the balance is paid within a year. If it’s not paid, or if we miss any payment, or if somebody sneezes and presses a button, or if CC surreptitiously decides, we’ll be slapped with a 25% interest rate retroactive to last March. There are several things they do not allow: for example, changing our own contact information or the due-date of our payment. They do, however, allow themselves to change the due date of our payment for us without notice. How surprised were we yesterday to discover we owed five days earlier than last month! Worse, yesterday was the fifth day short of the normal day. Sonofa…

Meanwhile, I’ve begun reading Thomas Merton, and taking a vow of poverty has never looked more attractive.



my, but someone’s in a self-pitying mood tonight…i sure do like my new teeths, though!