Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





Join Zipcar and get $25 in free driving!

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
Create Your Badge





www.flickr.com





Instagram






Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State





Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







Archives
<< current
ARCHIVES
4/27/03 - 5/4/03 5/4/03 - 5/11/03 8/3/03 - 8/10/03 8/10/03 - 8/17/03 8/17/03 - 8/24/03 8/24/03 - 8/31/03 8/31/03 - 9/7/03 9/7/03 - 9/14/03 9/14/03 - 9/21/03 9/21/03 - 9/28/03 9/28/03 - 10/5/03 10/5/03 - 10/12/03 10/12/03 - 10/19/03 10/19/03 - 10/26/03 10/26/03 - 11/2/03 11/2/03 - 11/9/03 11/9/03 - 11/16/03 11/16/03 - 11/23/03 11/23/03 - 11/30/03 11/30/03 - 12/7/03 12/7/03 - 12/14/03 12/14/03 - 12/21/03 12/21/03 - 12/28/03 12/28/03 - 1/4/04 1/4/04 - 1/11/04 1/11/04 - 1/18/04 1/18/04 - 1/25/04 1/25/04 - 2/1/04 2/1/04 - 2/8/04 2/8/04 - 2/15/04 2/15/04 - 2/22/04 2/22/04 - 2/29/04 2/29/04 - 3/7/04 3/7/04 - 3/14/04 3/14/04 - 3/21/04 3/21/04 - 3/28/04 3/28/04 - 4/4/04 4/4/04 - 4/11/04 4/11/04 - 4/18/04 4/18/04 - 4/25/04 4/25/04 - 5/2/04 5/2/04 - 5/9/04 5/9/04 - 5/16/04 5/16/04 - 5/23/04 5/23/04 - 5/30/04 6/6/04 - 6/13/04 6/13/04 - 6/20/04 6/20/04 - 6/27/04 6/27/04 - 7/4/04 7/4/04 - 7/11/04 7/11/04 - 7/18/04 7/18/04 - 7/25/04 7/25/04 - 8/1/04 8/1/04 - 8/8/04 8/8/04 - 8/15/04 8/15/04 - 8/22/04 8/22/04 - 8/29/04 8/29/04 - 9/5/04 9/5/04 - 9/12/04 9/12/04 - 9/19/04 9/19/04 - 9/26/04 9/26/04 - 10/3/04 10/3/04 - 10/10/04 10/10/04 - 10/17/04 10/17/04 - 10/24/04 10/24/04 - 10/31/04 10/31/04 - 11/7/04 11/14/04 - 11/21/04 11/21/04 - 11/28/04 11/28/04 - 12/5/04 12/5/04 - 12/12/04 12/12/04 - 12/19/04 12/19/04 - 12/26/04 12/26/04 - 1/2/05 1/2/05 - 1/9/05 1/9/05 - 1/16/05 1/16/05 - 1/23/05 1/23/05 - 1/30/05 1/30/05 - 2/6/05 2/6/05 - 2/13/05 2/13/05 - 2/20/05 2/20/05 - 2/27/05 2/27/05 - 3/6/05 3/6/05 - 3/13/05 3/13/05 - 3/20/05 3/20/05 - 3/27/05 3/27/05 - 4/3/05 4/3/05 - 4/10/05 4/10/05 - 4/17/05 4/17/05 - 4/24/05 4/24/05 - 5/1/05 5/1/05 - 5/8/05 5/15/05 - 5/22/05 6/5/05 - 6/12/05 7/24/05 - 7/31/05 7/31/05 - 8/7/05 8/7/05 - 8/14/05 8/14/05 - 8/21/05 8/21/05 - 8/28/05 9/4/05 - 9/11/05 9/11/05 - 9/18/05 9/18/05 - 9/25/05 9/25/05 - 10/2/05 10/2/05 - 10/9/05 10/9/05 - 10/16/05 10/16/05 - 10/23/05 10/23/05 - 10/30/05 10/30/05 - 11/6/05 11/6/05 - 11/13/05 11/13/05 - 11/20/05 11/20/05 - 11/27/05 12/4/05 - 12/11/05 12/11/05 - 12/18/05 1/1/06 - 1/8/06 1/8/06 - 1/15/06 1/15/06 - 1/22/06 1/22/06 - 1/29/06 1/29/06 - 2/5/06 2/5/06 - 2/12/06 2/12/06 - 2/19/06 2/19/06 - 2/26/06 2/26/06 - 3/5/06 3/5/06 - 3/12/06 3/12/06 - 3/19/06 3/19/06 - 3/26/06 3/26/06 - 4/2/06 4/2/06 - 4/9/06 4/9/06 - 4/16/06 4/23/06 - 4/30/06 4/30/06 - 5/7/06 5/7/06 - 5/14/06 5/14/06 - 5/21/06 5/21/06 - 5/28/06 6/11/06 - 6/18/06 6/18/06 - 6/25/06 6/25/06 - 7/2/06 7/2/06 - 7/9/06 7/30/06 - 8/6/06 9/10/06 - 9/17/06 9/17/06 - 9/24/06 10/8/06 - 10/15/06 10/29/06 - 11/5/06 11/5/06 - 11/12/06 11/12/06 - 11/19/06 11/26/06 - 12/3/06 12/3/06 - 12/10/06 12/17/06 - 12/24/06 12/24/06 - 12/31/06 12/31/06 - 1/7/07 1/21/07 - 1/28/07 1/28/07 - 2/4/07 2/4/07 - 2/11/07 2/11/07 - 2/18/07 2/18/07 - 2/25/07 2/25/07 - 3/4/07 3/4/07 - 3/11/07 3/11/07 - 3/18/07 3/18/07 - 3/25/07 3/25/07 - 4/1/07 6/24/07 - 7/1/07 7/1/07 - 7/8/07 7/8/07 - 7/15/07 7/15/07 - 7/22/07 7/22/07 - 7/29/07 7/29/07 - 8/5/07 8/5/07 - 8/12/07 8/12/07 - 8/19/07 8/19/07 - 8/26/07 8/26/07 - 9/2/07 9/9/07 - 9/16/07 9/16/07 - 9/23/07 9/23/07 - 9/30/07 9/30/07 - 10/7/07 10/7/07 - 10/14/07 10/14/07 - 10/21/07 11/4/07 - 11/11/07 11/11/07 - 11/18/07 12/9/07 - 12/16/07 1/6/08 - 1/13/08 1/13/08 - 1/20/08 1/27/08 - 2/3/08 2/3/08 - 2/10/08 2/10/08 - 2/17/08 2/24/08 - 3/2/08 3/2/08 - 3/9/08 3/9/08 - 3/16/08 3/16/08 - 3/23/08 3/23/08 - 3/30/08 3/30/08 - 4/6/08 4/6/08 - 4/13/08 4/13/08 - 4/20/08 4/20/08 - 4/27/08 4/27/08 - 5/4/08 5/4/08 - 5/11/08 5/11/08 - 5/18/08 5/18/08 - 5/25/08 5/25/08 - 6/1/08 6/1/08 - 6/8/08 6/15/08 - 6/22/08 6/22/08 - 6/29/08 6/29/08 - 7/6/08 7/13/08 - 7/20/08 7/20/08 - 7/27/08 8/3/08 - 8/10/08 8/10/08 - 8/17/08 8/17/08 - 8/24/08 8/24/08 - 8/31/08 8/31/08 - 9/7/08 9/7/08 - 9/14/08 9/21/08 - 9/28/08 9/28/08 - 10/5/08 10/5/08 - 10/12/08 10/12/08 - 10/19/08 10/19/08 - 10/26/08 10/26/08 - 11/2/08 11/2/08 - 11/9/08 11/9/08 - 11/16/08 11/16/08 - 11/23/08 11/30/08 - 12/7/08 12/7/08 - 12/14/08 12/14/08 - 12/21/08 12/28/08 - 1/4/09 1/4/09 - 1/11/09 1/11/09 - 1/18/09 1/18/09 - 1/25/09 2/1/09 - 2/8/09 2/8/09 - 2/15/09 2/15/09 - 2/22/09 3/29/09 - 4/5/09 5/3/09 - 5/10/09 5/10/09 - 5/17/09 5/17/09 - 5/24/09 5/24/09 - 5/31/09 5/31/09 - 6/7/09 6/7/09 - 6/14/09 6/14/09 - 6/21/09 7/12/09 - 7/19/09 7/19/09 - 7/26/09 7/26/09 - 8/2/09 8/2/09 - 8/9/09 8/9/09 - 8/16/09 8/16/09 - 8/23/09 8/23/09 - 8/30/09 8/30/09 - 9/6/09 9/20/09 - 9/27/09 9/27/09 - 10/4/09 10/4/09 - 10/11/09 10/11/09 - 10/18/09 10/18/09 - 10/25/09 10/25/09 - 11/1/09 11/1/09 - 11/8/09 11/8/09 - 11/15/09 11/15/09 - 11/22/09 11/22/09 - 11/29/09 11/29/09 - 12/6/09 12/6/09 - 12/13/09 12/13/09 - 12/20/09 12/20/09 - 12/27/09 12/27/09 - 1/3/10 1/3/10 - 1/10/10 1/10/10 - 1/17/10 1/17/10 - 1/24/10 1/24/10 - 1/31/10 1/31/10 - 2/7/10 2/7/10 - 2/14/10 2/14/10 - 2/21/10 2/21/10 - 2/28/10 3/14/10 - 3/21/10 3/21/10 - 3/28/10 3/28/10 - 4/4/10 4/4/10 - 4/11/10 4/11/10 - 4/18/10 4/18/10 - 4/25/10 4/25/10 - 5/2/10 5/2/10 - 5/9/10 5/9/10 - 5/16/10 5/16/10 - 5/23/10 5/23/10 - 5/30/10 5/30/10 - 6/6/10 6/6/10 - 6/13/10 6/13/10 - 6/20/10 6/20/10 - 6/27/10 6/27/10 - 7/4/10 7/4/10 - 7/11/10 7/11/10 - 7/18/10 7/18/10 - 7/25/10 7/25/10 - 8/1/10 9/19/10 - 9/26/10 10/3/10 - 10/10/10 10/10/10 - 10/17/10 10/17/10 - 10/24/10 10/24/10 - 10/31/10 10/31/10 - 11/7/10 11/14/10 - 11/21/10 11/28/10 - 12/5/10 12/5/10 - 12/12/10 12/12/10 - 12/19/10 12/19/10 - 12/26/10 12/26/10 - 1/2/11 1/2/11 - 1/9/11 1/9/11 - 1/16/11 1/16/11 - 1/23/11 1/23/11 - 1/30/11 1/30/11 - 2/6/11 2/6/11 - 2/13/11 2/13/11 - 2/20/11 2/20/11 - 2/27/11 2/27/11 - 3/6/11 3/6/11 - 3/13/11 3/13/11 - 3/20/11 3/20/11 - 3/27/11 3/27/11 - 4/3/11 4/3/11 - 4/10/11 4/10/11 - 4/17/11 4/17/11 - 4/24/11 4/24/11 - 5/1/11 5/1/11 - 5/8/11 5/15/11 - 5/22/11 5/22/11 - 5/29/11 5/29/11 - 6/5/11 6/12/11 - 6/19/11 6/19/11 - 6/26/11 6/26/11 - 7/3/11 7/10/11 - 7/17/11 7/31/11 - 8/7/11 8/21/11 - 8/28/11 8/28/11 - 9/4/11 9/18/11 - 9/25/11 9/25/11 - 10/2/11 10/2/11 - 10/9/11 10/9/11 - 10/16/11 10/16/11 - 10/23/11 10/23/11 - 10/30/11 11/6/11 - 11/13/11 11/13/11 - 11/20/11 11/20/11 - 11/27/11 11/27/11 - 12/4/11 12/4/11 - 12/11/11 12/11/11 - 12/18/11 12/25/11 - 1/1/12 1/1/12 - 1/8/12 2/5/12 - 2/12/12 2/19/12 - 2/26/12 3/4/12 - 3/11/12 4/1/12 - 4/8/12 4/15/12 - 4/22/12 4/29/12 - 5/6/12 5/13/12 - 5/20/12 5/20/12 - 5/27/12 6/24/12 - 7/1/12 7/1/12 - 7/8/12 7/8/12 - 7/15/12 7/15/12 - 7/22/12 7/22/12 - 7/29/12 7/29/12 - 8/5/12 8/5/12 - 8/12/12 8/12/12 - 8/19/12 8/19/12 - 8/26/12 8/26/12 - 9/2/12 9/2/12 - 9/9/12 9/9/12 - 9/16/12 9/16/12 - 9/23/12 9/23/12 - 9/30/12 10/7/12 - 10/14/12 10/21/12 - 10/28/12 11/4/12 - 11/11/12 12/9/12 - 12/16/12 12/23/12 - 12/30/12 1/6/13 - 1/13/13 1/13/13 - 1/20/13 1/20/13 - 1/27/13 1/27/13 - 2/3/13 2/3/13 - 2/10/13 2/10/13 - 2/17/13 2/17/13 - 2/24/13 3/3/13 - 3/10/13 3/17/13 - 3/24/13 3/31/13 - 4/7/13 4/7/13 - 4/14/13 4/21/13 - 4/28/13 4/28/13 - 5/5/13 5/5/13 - 5/12/13 5/12/13 - 5/19/13 5/19/13 - 5/26/13 6/16/13 - 6/23/13 6/23/13 - 6/30/13 7/14/13 - 7/21/13 8/11/13 - 8/18/13 8/25/13 - 9/1/13 9/8/13 - 9/15/13 9/22/13 - 9/29/13 10/13/13 - 10/20/13 10/20/13 - 10/27/13 11/10/13 - 11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16



Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


< chicago blogs >





Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, May 17, 2013  
My friend who had all the plastic surgery is now sending me weekly before/after photos of her friends and relatives who had a "little work done." Her messages all run along the lines of, "See, Trill? It's subtle and it does wonders for confidence and self esteem." My personal distaste for plastic surgery aside, the cost of these procedures my friend and her friends are undergoing brings a lot of stark lifestyle contrasts to the fore. My friend spent thousands (and I do mean tens of thousands) of dollars on what (to be fair) were relatively minimal "adjustments." How she (and other people) spend their money is none of my business, and it's certainly not my place to judge their judgement or their finances.

But since there's so much talk about the widening financial gap between those with money (and lots of money) and those without enough money to cover basic human essentials, me and my friends and family make an interesting case study.

I'm not looking for pity or sympathy. I am not envious of the things my friends and family are buying, even if I had "that kind" of money I wouldn't spend it on the things they do. And I do not want (or expect) my friends or family to give me money. And I do not want anyone to feel guilty about having money to spend however they want to spend it. And I certainly do not wish my situation on anyone, so there's no, "spend a day in my shoes, why dontcha" sour grapes.

I am just using my life to illustrate the chasm between those affected by the recession and those who remain unscathed. The interesting angle (I think) to my story is that my friends and family and I had the exact same background. We come from the same societal place. So, I find the contrasts in our lives interesting. We were all raised in similar economic situations, all similarly educated (college degrees), similar social morality...you get the point, it's not as if I was raised in poverty and crime or that they were raised with excessive wealth and cloistered from reality. I have no idea what, if anything, this might mean, but I'll note that with only a few exceptions we are all first generation Americans whose parents arrived in America as children or young adults who then seized America for all it was worth, attended college and worked hard at professional careers - and that includes many of our mothers. We were all raised in law-abiding, charitable, church-on-Sunday families, we were Scouts, we went to summer camps, played in the school band, got good grades (because college was not optional, our parents didn't give us the choice of not going to college), held bake sales for local causes, and we knew if we did something wrong our parents would find out about it from other parents or neighbors - so we followed rules and stayed out of trouble.

The only difference between my life path and that of my friends and family is that they got married and had children. Only a few of my female friends still work outside the home. Most gave up their careers about 10 years ago to be stay-at-home mothers and they are completely reliant on their husbands' income.

I am now, of course, on the poverty side, while my friends and family are on the, well, blissfully wealthy and unaware side. While my friend (and her friends) are spending thousands of dollars (really, tens of thousands each) on cosmetic plastic surgery...

I don't have health insurance and do not qualify for MedicAid, and so far I've been laughed out of the doctor's offices when I inquire about Obamacare. So I aam struggling to scrape up $20/month to pay off $1,900 in medical bills from my pneumonia and ovarian nightmares last winter. That $20/month is not easy to find. My grocery budget is $20/week, so the $20 medical bill payment means: No groceries for a week. Which means even my poverty diet of potatoes and beans and rice gets cut for a week. The medication I have to take for my ovary issue costs me $22/month (yay for Costco pharmacy).  I have sold my plasma to pay for eye exams because I'm pre-glaucoma and I have to have twice-yearly advanced testing to follow the progress and catch it before it advances to the vision loss stage. There is a surgery, now, that "cures" my type of glaucoma, and there is a glaucoma association that offers financial assistance to low income patients, but until my "situation" advances I'm on my own for the screening expenses. The tests cost $650 - twice a year, so I have to budget $1,300/year for glaucoma tests. I'm developing carpal tunnel, but treatment is out of the question. I have not been to a dentist in two years.


Other friends are complaining about the hassle of renovating and expanding their house. My friend feels the already 6,500 square foot house they built four years ago needs updating and a "little more" space. When the renovation is complete their house will be 8,000 square feet and the pool area will be "more current." Oh. And. They (more accurately her husband) just bought their 15 year old child a brand new car - and not just any car - a $38,000 car. The child takes driver's ed this summer so they want her to have her own car to learn and practice with so when she gets her license she'll be familiar and comfortable driving her own car.

Meanwhile, I'm in foreclosure on my 970 square foot condo that is worth less than half what I owe on it. I can't even afford the insurance on a used car from the "as-is" no-warranty section of the sleazy used car lots. That's if I miraculously had the money to buy an as-is no-warranty car from a sleazy used car lot. I do not have that money, so I do not have a car.


Two of my close relatives are spending all of May in France because they wanted to be there for Cannes. They "always seem to plan" wrong and miss Cannes by a few weeks, so this year they decided to spend their French month, as they call it, in May instead of April. They were bummed because their first class plane tickets cost $1,500 (each) more this year. They did snag a "great deal" on a hotel in Monaco, though, because they negotiated a four week rate for a suite.

Meanwhile, I'm thankful that I have frequent train miles to cash in for a 200 mile train trip to help my mother after she recovers from surgery - because I don't have a spare $45 for the one way train ticket.


Another friend, well, friends, a couple, was recently featured in a huge prestigious financial national publication that has a monthly feature about financial success stories. The four page spread shows their lovely home, her lavish jewelry (gold is a great investment!), their five, count 'em five luxury cars, and, oh yeah, their financial particulars. To be fair, this friend married a man who was the only living relative of a distant uncle who happened to die exceptionally rich and without any other heirs. They stumbled into their wealth and they are enjoying it and investing it. The kind of investments that require thousands of dollars just to discuss. The "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" type of investments. And I laud them for all they've learned about their new hobby of investing. But they are not "help America recover" investments. They are making so much money that they are going to renounce their American citizenship, move to and become citizens of another, more tax friendly country. Oh, and, ironically, both were laid off from their jobs a year before I was. The inheritance hit a couple months into their unemployment and neither has worked since, and there are no intentions to ever work again.

Meanwhile, my 401K was completely drained in an attempt to pay my mortgage and medical bills.



One of my friends had to go through a long IVF saga to conceive a child. She felt sorry for couples who can't afford IVF treatments so she became very involved with a charity that raises money for couples who can't afford IVF. She recently chaired a fundraising event. The cost of the event? $400/person, $700/couple. She invited me. I declined the invite, she pressed me, then pressured me to attend. "It's a great networking opportunity for you! You have to attend. You'll meet people who can get you a job. Everyone attending has a C level title." There was a silent auction where the least expensive item bid started at $200. Someone "won" a condo - an actual home - in Aspen for $65,000. I'm sure it was a good deal, but who the heck goes to an IVF fundraiser and bids $65,000 on an Aspen condo in a silent auction...for IVF?! I'll tell you who: My friend's friends.

Meanwhile, I had to borrow the $12 commuter train fare to get to the suburb where the event was held. I met a lot of people and I worked the networking angle hard. But no job offers have yet to come of those introductions and I regret the $12 I spent on train fare. 


I was recently out with a friend, we were running a few errands before I spent the evening babysitting her children. One of her casual Friday errands? Purchasing three 50" televisions, three DVRs and three sound bars, one for each of their children. Their under-the-age-of-10 children. It wasn't anyone's birthday. There wasn't a recent lottery win or inheritance. She was just sick of the kids fighting about who got to watch their favorite show on the good television, so she bought them all their own good televisions. She had the televisions, DVRs and sound bars delivered and set up that afternoon (a premium charge). That evening all three children had their own home theaters in their bedrooms.

Meanwhile, I have the same enormous clunker of a television I've had for 10 years. It has white lines across the top of the screen but I'm used to it, now. I have a DVD player that averages a 36% function rate.


Speaking of technology, most of my friends and especially my relatives all routinely upgrade to the most current smartphones. This often costs them a lot of extra money because their plans only allow for one or two phones in a two year period of time. They don't care about the upcharge, they want the latest phones the day they hit the market. I know people, I am related to people, who pay other people to stand in lines to buy new phones for them the day they're available. I am related to someone who paid a kid $300 and a new iPhone to stand in line at an Apple store to purchase two iPhones - one for him and one as payment (along with the $300) for standing in line on debut day.

Meanwhile, I'm still using the dumbphone that was a cheap temporary phone I bought a year before I was laid off. If someone sends me a text more than 160 characters I don't receive the full text. I frequently drop calls and I'm told I sound like I'm trapped in a tin can.



The same friend who bought the televisions lamented that her salon just raised their rates. She has a standing six week appointment wherein she will now spend $215 plus tip for a hair cut and color. She uses $63/9 oz. bottle shampoo and conditioner.

Meanwhile, I've let my hair grow and I trim it myself. A friend was cutting it for me but she stopped offering to cut it last year and avoids the topic of hair altogether, I'm taking the hint that she is no longer willing to cut my hair. I buy the enormous keg-o-shampoo from Costco. $5.99/40 oz. bottle, with a coupon, and I water it down to extend get more shampoos out of a bottle.



Another friend enjoys cooking and recently decided to try more vegetarian meals. Her enthusiasm is admirable and she shares her recipes with me. Most of the recipes are the kind of recipes that have a long list of ingredients no one usually has on hand. The type of ingredients that can only be procured at specialty grocery stores. One of the recent recipes looked interesting so I made a shopping list of ingredients I need to procure. I only had two of the ingredients so I had to buy 12 other ingredients. By the third ingredient it was clear my $20 weekly grocery budget would not allow this recipe. Just for kicks I added up the cost of those 12 ingredients: $32.38. For one recipe that will feed two people who, if they eat miserly, might have leftovers for a light lunch the next day. Oh. And. She cooks two sets of meals: One for her and her husband, one for her children. Sure, she enjoys cooking, it's a hobby for her. A very expensive hobby.

Meanwhile, I budget $20/week for food and very often I have to scrimp on that (see above, medical expenses). Which means: Potatoes, beans & rice, mac & cheese, and peanut butter. Fresh produce is a fantasy for me.


My friends like to take shopping trips. I don't mean a day looking for bargains at the mall. I mean week long vacations to New York, Paris or Milan. They are dressed in the latest designers and styles, and so are their children and dogs. I like shoes, but these women take it to a level even I find, well, weird. Possibly psychotic.

Meanwhile, the only clothes I've bought in the last three years are a few basics from Target my mother bought me for Christmases and birthdays. I have two pair of three and five year old shoes I keep as pristine as possible for interviews. I have bras that are functioning only because they're held together with safety pins and some clever sewing and mending. My mother gave me a package of underwear for my birthday last year, but other than that my underpants are all more than 3 years old, as are my socks. My sneakers are five years old. Yes, they were expensive when I bought them (after my foot/ankle surgery) and they've held up well, and from the outside they don't look too awful. But the tread and the inside are embarrassing and probably not doing my foot and ankle any favors.


My friend's IVF fundraiser was black tie only, so I wore the only real black tie worthy dress I own, which is seven years old. My friends were visibly "troubled" that I showed up wearing it. One of my friends said, "You should have told me you didn't have anything to wear, I would have loaned you something." She said this not with sympathy but with dismissive annoyance. Another said, "I told you everyone here has a C level title, you have to look like you fit in if you want them to take you seriously." I was an embarrassment to them. There were lots of group photos taken, "the old gang" kind of shots, the old gang of which I was a key member. I was asked to be included in one shot and my friends said, "Trillian's tall, put her in the back." Which is fair, I am tall and I am often in the back of photos...except I'm the only one in the back of this photo so it looks like I photobombed my friends. I might be overly sensitive about this, and in reality I don't care about the photos, but I do care about embarrassing my friends - I don't mind embarrassing myself, it's the one thing I do well - but I don't want to embarrass other people. Several photos of the evening were posted on a couple social pages and on websites, and the group shots of my friends feature prominently in all the public displays, however the one shot we me in it was not used. Which is fine, I didn't pay to be there and I certainly do not need or want my photo plastered on society pages. But it was clear to me that I was an unsightly embarrassment to my friends. I found the Cinderella without a fairy godmother aspect kind of funny, my friends in their glorious new gowns, dripping in multi-carat jewelry, handbags that cost more than my mortgage payment, hair, nails and makeup all professionally done, breasts all newly augmented back into their perky position, complexions dermabraded and filled, Riviera sun kissed shoulders bared...and then there was me. But I also feel bad that I embarrassed my friends at what was an important event for them. It may sound silly and inconsequential to me, and to you, but it was a big deal for them. As a friend, you support your friends, you do things you might not want to do because it matters to your friends and you are a loyal and supportive friend. That's my take on friendship. So I feel bad that I dropped the ball at the event and brought shame to their otherwise very posh and lovely event.

Apart from that one group photo, they ignored me the entire evening. A few weeks after the event a box arrived. It contained a couple gently worn expensive handbags, a few gently worn cashmere sweaters and a gift card at a posh salon and note from two of my friends saying, “We cleaned out our closets and know you love these colors, enjoy! AND GO GET A HAIRCUT!!!!” 

 Of course it was a nice gesture and I was (and am) grateful, but I don't want to be their new charity project. They never offered me any of their cast off handbags or clothes in the past…and certainly never bought me a haircut.

I know it sounds like I’m ungrateful and sullen and resentful and bitter and jealous and need a stern talking to about graciousness. I was not, and am not, any of those things. But let’s be realistic: At that point I’d drained gone into debt for train fare to get to the gala and home again, I was squeezing the last vestiges of my last tube toothpaste, I hadn’t eaten any kind of produce in weeks and my $20/week budget was spent. Last year’s Dooney and Burke bag and a Fendi sweater were not exactly what I needed. Yes, I appreciated the hair cut, but realistically again, it was at a salon I would never frequent, even when I was employed, because haircuts start at $85 there. The gift card was for $50. Add a $10 tip (minimum) and that haircut would cost me $45. Not. In. The. Budget. A train/bus pass, a bag of apples, a giant bottle of shampoo from Costco…those would have had me squealing with glee. I realize my friends have never been in my situation so they don’t know how unimportant fashion and luxury items are when you’re unemployed. They don’t know what it’s like to worry about running out of toothpaste and deodorant the day before a job interview. One might think they could figure it out, and one might think they would be embarrassed to give a cast off designer handbag to an unemployed friend. But in their minds they were helping. There’s an innocence to their (albeit misguided) attempt to help me.

At least that’s what I tell myself. I tell myself this because I do not want to resent my friends or be angry with them merely because they’re fortunate enough to remain unaware of what losing your job does to your life. I wouldn’t wish unemployment on anyone and by extension, I'd like to spare my friends the harsh realities. Once I realized how truly unaware my friends were, I came to a mindset that I didn’t want anyone to know how bad it is. I didn’t want sympathy or charity. I wanted to allow my friends remain innocent. They are, essentially, the girls we were when we were growing up in the suburbs. Innocent, idealistic, carefree and happy. Enlightening them to what unemployment did to me and my life would be a buzzkill the likes of which they’ve never experienced. It would shatter lifelong illusions and potentially scare the crap out of them.

They are clinging to the quickly antiquating notion that things like this aren't supposed to happen to people like us. It goes against the grain of everything we were taught and shown about life - get good grades, stay out of trouble, go to college, get a good job, make a decent living, lead a happy life. It's a formula that can't fail...except it is failing for millions of us. Yet millions of other people, our peers, no less, don't realize or don't care that millions of their peer group are living in poverty due to a failure in the same formula we all followed. I don't think they're in denial. I think poverty in America, in their peer group, is just such an abstract concept for them that they can't believe it exists. What I hear, almost daily is, "You're intelligent and creative and highly educated and you have fantastic professional work experience, you'll get a job any second!" The people who say this are trying to cheer me up, buoy my confidence, but, more than that, I've discovered they're trying to bolster their own confidence, they feel a need to verbally reassure themselves that their deeply ingrained beliefs that educated/intelligent/creative/professional people do not end up in poverty. They are essentially dismissing me and the notion that anyone like me, and by extension, like them, in America, could end up with nothing but job rejection notices, no health insurance, living on potatoes and beans and rice and facing homelessness.

I could enlighten my friends, present the harsh truths, and I've thought about doing just that. But it wouldn't alter their perspective because I'm the only one they personally know in this situation, and they blame my lack of a husband rather than the economy. It's not worth the exhausting conversation I would have to have with them. And if I managed to get through to them, they'd be petrified at the realities that they didn't realize. They'd be scared. I can’t do that to a friend. And I don’t want to embarrass them, as I probably did at their gala fundraiser.

And I especially didn’t want anyone to be burdened with worry about me.

Lest you think my friends and family are a bunch of unaware, small minded snobs, I feel duty bound to defend them. These are not snobbish, selfish dolts. They are all college educated, most have masters degrees. They love a good cause. These are people who run in cancer fundraising marathons, make cookies to send to troops in Afghanistan, volunteer to help build playgrounds for inner city kids, whip out the credit card for whatever Bono tells them to buy for a good cause (ironically, that cause is poverty and debt in countries other than America), and donate last year’s clothes and electronics to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. They plant trees, drive hybrid cars, eat local organic, use reusable grocery bags, don't smoke and don’t litter. They set aside one week of their vacations a year to volunteer in underprivileged or developing nations so their children understand charity firsthand. They put their children in language immersion classes so their children have a global awareness and communication skills to travel in China, Africa, India and South America.

They are good, charitable people. They have the receipts and itemized tax returns to prove it.

I just happen to be a fluke freak for whom the tried and true formula didn't work. Like I said, my friends blame my inability to "snag a husband." In their minds, that's where it all went wrong. I followed the formula to a point, but didn't complete it and therefore the formula didn't work for me. I missed a crucial factor in the equation: A husband. They feel that everything that's wrong in my life can be blamed on that one crucial missing factor. And maybe they're right. Even though I never saw myself depending on a man financially - I never saw myself not earning a living in some capacity - I did see myself as part of a married team, an equal financial, emotional and life planning contributor. Perhaps being part of a team like that would foster more employment opportunities. At the very least it would potentially provide an income during my unemployment. (Although I know couples who were both laid off in the last three years, so...that kinda shoots holes in that theory.) 

Whatever the reason, me and my friends and family who started at the same place and followed the same life path have ended up far, far apart on the social and economic scale. Social Darwinism, I suppose, survival of the fittest, and since I have been deemed unfit to mate, it stands to reason I am unfit to survive in other aspects as well. I think it makes for an interesting social study because it brings both ends of the economic spectrum into sharp focus.

Labels: ,


9:54 AM

 
This page is powered by Blogger.