Monday, January 19, 2009
Things I haven't figured out even though I am half a century old:
How do you talk to them? They say they want to be treated like anyone else but if you talk to them like you do to men they flee. I've never had a long-term relationship. I came close once but it didn't work out. After six weeks things dissolved. I've read that as a rule if you haven't had a committed relationship by the time you're 40, you're probably not cut out for it. Reading this brought me relief in a way. Free from the obligation of trying, I can do what I want to do. And yet ... there are those nights when lying on my twin mattress with a book isn't enough. I see others unite with ease while I am like a dog at a closed door, frustrated, leaping up and scratching the wood with my claws, unable to turn the knob.
I make less than a third of what the average man my age earns. I have a master's degree yet I work retail, my feet aching at the end of each day, my pocket knife dulled from cutting open boxes. Most of my coworkers are half my age, there for a short while en route to other positions. I made more, years ago. Then I overreached, crashed.
Investing, planning, buying real estate. Never did it. Perhaps I'm better off given the current state of things. Two years ago I opened an account at ingdirect.com and I put any extra money I have in it and have money transferred out of my account weekly. Small amounts here and there but it's added up. I could live for over a year on what I've saved. Years ago, while traveling in Indonesia, I met a Russian who escaped from Russia when that was hard to do. He fled to Canada, played professional ice hockey then went into business for himself. He was in his 50s, wore a Rolex, had a French Canadian girlfriend who was interesting, smart, gorgeous and half his age, and a stack of $50 traveler's checks an inch thick. He traveled with a backgammon board and played for money when he could. "Playing backgammon without using the doubling cube," he said, "is like playing chess without the kings." I played chess with him once. I'm unschooled in the game, but not bad for a casual player. Or so I thought. He moved out all his pawns just for fun, let me take few key pieces, grew bored after some minutes and checkmated me in five moves. He and his girlfriend were headed in a few days to Bali by ship. "You want to learn to make money? Come with us. I'll tell you everything you need to know in two days." I didn't and have wondered ever since what he knew that I could have learned.
What I have figured out:
I am a complete and total loser.