Luisa was having trouble paying her rent, so I chipped in a pretty penny to help her out. Tyson, the college dropout who wanted to be a basketball player, had no money at all but he needed a lot of equipment to make his dreams come true, so I bought him some basketball shorts and a basketball hat and paid for summer trainings for him. I figured I’d do good anywhere I could.
I soon discovered, as I was writing a piece about education, that the women who lived in the Congo had no access to the kinds of privileges that us Americans did. I chipped in $35 per month to the Sisters for Sisters charity to help them out. Right now, I’m counting pennies and I’m realizing that I might just be no less than $5 short of paying my own rent. I had to pay for about half as many groceries this week, due to my excessive generosity, but I told myself it was for the greater good, even though all of my meals will consist solely of rice and beans.
Why do I always have to help people? It’s like a tick.
I sigh and then continue counting each penny. As I do, Jeanine calls. She wants editing with her stream-of-consciousness writing, which any self-respecting writer knows has about a .02% of being published. Very few editors and literary agents will publish this sort of prose, let alone pay for it, but, before I can stop myself, I go and help her out. Before I know it, I am sifting through fifty pages of very disjointed writing, wondering why on earth I am helping Jeanine when I really should be focused on paying that last $5 worth of rent. Five dollars doesn’t seem that hard to earn.
I understand that. The problem is that my paycheck is coming a few days after my rent is due and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. I have exactly $0.00 in my bank account, and I’ve just had to pay $2000 to replace the windshield on my old Honda Civic because I dog sat for my neighbor Ralph who was overwhelmed with his five very young children and his very overworked wife, and, so, of course, I had come to the rescue as I always did. Unfortunately, gravel was spewing and all kinds of stuff was in the air that day, plus I was in a rush, so my windshield cracked on my way to his house. I’d then dropped my phone when I picked up Sarah’s call. Sarah was a lawyer who was going through a divorce herself. You would think that she’d be adept at handling this situation, especially since she herself was a divorce lawyer. The only problem was, of course, that she needed a shoulder to cry on and I was that shoulder.
I spent countless nights telling her that Adam and her just were not meant to be and that they were only separating because someone better would come along. I learned that he had cheated on her multiple times for several years, but had somehow managed to hide it from her for over ten long years, and I told her, over and over again, day and night, that it wasn’t her fault. Sometimes, she’d call at noon and other times at three in the morning. Marvin, the oldest kid, needed help with his math homework. I hadn’t done math for a long time. I was a writer, after all, and didn’t particularly enjoy crunching numbers.
I sighed. I came back home and continued counting the pennies. Of course, I had given one to Jeanine, who was very intent on the idea of the lucky penny and swore that she needed one at this particular second. I sigh and put my head in my hands.
Jesus, Samantha. Why do you always have to be everybody’s damn hero all the time?
As I am putting on a fleece to go for a walk I discover a crumpled up $5 inside of my pocket and breathe an enormous sigh of relief.
I will be able to pay the rent this month.
I lead a few kids on kayaking trips on the weekends. Enjoying the great outdoors with others is a beautiful opportunity to receive these days and should not be limited to the wealthy among us. I’ve decided this long ago, so I spend my hard-earned money on gas to help these youngsters. Last time, of course, someone dropped their phone in the lake and then, because kids think that their phones are as important as limbs these days, she immediately jumped into the freezing cold water in order to retrieve it. I, being the hero that I always fucking am, jumped into the water to save her and see if I could retrieve the phone because, for some reason, I felt like kids these days were more incapable of retrieving these objects from the lake than I was as a mature and overworked adult.
I did not find the phone. It clearly wouldn’t have worked anyway, despite this youngster’s very wishful and optimistic thinking, and I was very upset with myself for giving the extra pair of warm clothes I had one me to the kid. Her name was Cierra.
At least she is safe and healthy. At least she is warm. At least I am doing my job for $12 an hour, even though I only get paid for 3 hours each week and it adds up to a grande total of $36.
I shivered all the way back. Then, of course, there was the literacy job I had and the gardening one. I was big on volunteer work. I had taken it upon myself to teach people English because it was a difficult language to learn yet an important one to master for the workplace in many countries. My student was always late and I was always early, but, when Juan did arrive on time, he truly was a very receptive student and I felt that it was my duty to be present for him whenever he needed me to be.