Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17, 2012

Today is Father's Day. I haven't celebrated this event in a long time, as my father died in 1995. At this point, I don't know that he would be speaking to me were he still alive. When my father was my age (40), he was married for 4 years, had a toddler (me) and a newborn (my sister).  My mother stayed at home, and it would be 5 more years until her alcoholism got out of control. At 40, my father had a well paying job with computers at the Chidlaw Building (then an annex of Ent AFB), and was 3 years away from retiring from the Air Force. The family had a nice house on Russell Circle in the Rustic Hills neighborhood of Colorado Springs. But 37 years later, Mom and Dad are long gone. My sister is about to be divorced for the second time. Her college age daughter is not on speaking terms with her. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband is a raging pill addict who stole her medicine and the medicine of their special needs son. And at 40, I have no family, no house, no decent paying job, no car, no computer even. It's debatable whether Colorado Springs or New York is a better place to live. But both have unemployment well above the national average. Due to student loan bills from the 1990s, I have no chance of ever finishing college, much less earning the $30-40K per year (unadjusted for inflation) that  my father was earning in 1975. But I never survived a Viet Cong attack. And my father never had to deal with homelessness, 15 plus years of poverty, or an ongoing war that started with an attack 6 miles from his residence.

But I've been out of the shelter for 6 weeks now, and I get to enjoy seeing the ocean, beach, and a wildlife refuge on the hour-plus commute from a SRO that takes over half my income.