By: Revanche

Livid, alone, in the dark

December 19, 2008

After another patted shoulder “don’t worry,” I literally bite my tongue. It’s the only way not to completely lose my good traditional training of not talking back to my elders. Or in this case, “raving at elder.”

Why, on the eve of a very important, very early, phone interview was I up, running outside barefoot over an hour before scheduled alarm? Hi, it’s still me here, still the girl who gets up only ten minutes before departure. That’d be because I woke to the sound of an unscheduled alarm. The car alarm.

I would have ignored it; I usually do as sleep is precious beyond words. Something stirred me to go see this time, though, to possibly do our neighbors the courtesy of silencing an errant alarm. What I saw, peeking out the blinds, however, was no errancy except that of a flurry of indistinguishable human activity. Startled, I raced outside barefoot to watch the family sedan driving away backwards. Towed.

Are there even words for the sheer fury that swamped me? I woke my dad hoping it was a mistake. Suspecting that it was not.

It wasn’t.

He hasn’t been able to keep up with the payments lately. What an innocent sounding statement until combined with the towed car.

I am positively furious and humiliated. Above all, betrayed. It wasn’t more than a month ago that I’d told him our communication was poor. I couldn’t trust their judgement and sensibility. He seemed surprised, he protested my characterization.

Well, surprise! I can’t.

This wasn’t a sudden, unexpected thing. (At least not for him.) This is what happens when you don’t pay, pay in time, and keep paying on time.

So what now? We’re down to my car. That’s it. It’s Friday morning, if I don’t throw cash at the situation, who knows how much, we’ll have to share my car for the weekend and I have a very full weekend. Heck, who knows, if I’ll have enough? Tow truck fees, plus whatever else. I don’t know. All I know is I’m losing more precious sleep because he can’t take care of business, can’t learn to tell me before something is about to become an exponentially larger pain in my ass so we can alleviate the situation. No, because “I can’t keep running to you.” No? But you think it’s right to wait until it’s a disaster before telling me that there are dark clouds in the sky?

Edit: Above written at 4 am.

Update: It turns out he’s over a thousand dollars behind. Deep breath.

It’s not that I can’t shake the money loose from somewhere. It’s that I have to because he won’t learn. That I have to tell my own dad that this is why I have trust issues, why I don’t think we have good communication, why I have to be anxious. That I told him months ago that my work situation was B.A.D. and last night that we’re all going to be laid off. That, in this lousy situation, he thinks it’s better to hide this situation and let it go into arrears!

“Why Mom is slowly losing her mind,” a part of my mind whispers disloyally, quietly, “this is why she’s losing her grip on reality. Living with him and letting him ‘handle it’ is, for her, to expect failure and disappointment. If it weren’t for me, would they be on the street in a matter of months? Weeks? How long would it be?”

It’s going to cost at least $1300 just to catch up on the payments. They’re waiting for a manager to review the file on Monday before they release information on how to get the car, according to him. That’s unacceptable but I’m stuck at work now and can’t follow up on my own.

I’m so mad I could spit.

And after this bailout, then what? Do I scrape up the cash to pay off *yet another* car since he obviously can’t afford this monthly payment? Call in my personal loans to free up cash and pay off all possible debts that I’m aware of? Create a blank slate for him while I try to support two households? If I don’t, he’s going to keep on trying to make two ends that are too short meet without telling me when he’s run into a rough patch, until we incur extra stupid fees. If I do, will he learn? Or will this just happen again?

Job hunting wasn’t challenging enough?

8 Responses to “Livid, alone, in the dark”

  1. Big hug.

    I am so sorry to hear this. Even though I rant and rave at my BF when he bails out his family, time after time, I see that it is difficult to say no to family.

    There is no way your family can change – it’s just the way they will continue to go on. Of course you don’t want to see your parents end up on the street, but it also is not fair that you are there taking care of them, while it should be the other way around. I’ll make a bet that even when you move out, you’ll STILL be dealing with their isues.

    There comes a point where you will have to be tough and speak from your mind and not your heart/conscience. There is only so much you can do.

    Stay strong!

  2. Sense says:

    UGH. I feel for you, this is a tough situation.

    In the short term, it is only solved by cash. In the long term–he must realize that counting on you can’t be half-hearted…he either tells you everything about their finances, or nothing, or it won’t work.

    I’m sorry that this happened, but we, your readers, all are here to listen!

  3. J. Money says:

    i cannot believe that. honestly, i don’t know what to say here except that Sense is right – we’re here supporting you and listening!!!

    you guys will be in my prayers tonight for sure…you are a GREAT daughter though, just remember that no matter what you end up doing 🙂

    we heart you.

  4. Revanche says:

    losangelesdaze: Thank you.

    Intellectually, I know they probably won’t change, but I keep hoping that if I push them hard enough, they will.

    I’ve taken a very hard line with my brother and while he’s not actually as productive as he should be, there’s some indication that he might really be trying.

    Maybe, in years to come, this heartache will bear fruit that’s not bitter for once.

    Sense: Exactly, thanks for saying what I was too emotionally overwrought to say. And thank you for the moral support; it staves off the guilt of venting here.

    J.Money: Honestly, I can’t believe it either. It made me cry at my stinkin’ desk at work because I just can’t comprehend how he could choose his pride over me, anymore, not after all we’ve been through and after I’ve been through for them. It sounds arrogant, but I’ve put everything I have into supporting this family, and he’s always talking about how he feels for me – shouldn’t he respect my needs? That’s the least he can do.

  5. *hugs*

    Reading that made ME frustrated.

    It’s almost like you need to open every bill that comes in and babysit your parents…

  6. Miss M says:

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with this, it’s hard enough to run our own lives without trying to straighten out the ones around us. I worry I’ll have to bail out my dad in the future, he’s a financial idiot and will probably run himself into the ground. My mom always kept him in check and afloat, they divorced this year. Sadly your experience happens every day, I hope you can help them without screwing yourself.

  7. Revanche says:

    FB: Hah! I already DO open just about every bill, that’s the only one I hadn’t bothered with. Clearly, “all or nothing” applies to me too.

    What’s even better? I’m perpetuating the damn problem by helping him hide it from my mom because she will FLIP OUT (even more than she’s been). Ah yes. Good job, me.

    Miss M: Thanks for the empathy, I hope you do ok with your dad as he gets older. In a way, this is “normal” for me so it’s almost easier.

  8. […] I tell him that it’s nonsensical to say it’s for my protection when, in the end, it has always cost me more stress and more money.  See, car towing, for one example. […]

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