Personal Stories

Dreams I Had While Unemployed

I am leaving a grocery store with my dad. It is daytime. Dad walks ahead of me in the parking lot towards the car, but when I pass a parked car, a man runs up behind me.

---

Four Stages of Financial Development

My friend Mark is the type of person who regularly reads the business section of the newspaper, and I often go to him for financial advice. He has a well-paying job and owns a house. So I was surprised to learn recently that he didn’t start out being very knowledgeable or responsible with his money. In fact, Mark started out with credit card debt and car payments, just like many of us. Since then, Mark’s way of thinking about money has shifted as he has learned more and entered new stages of life, or “stages of financial development” if you will.

---

Remembrance of College Interviews Past

I’d exposed the fact that by age eighteen, I had learned that someone would always, always be better than me at everything.

---

“I Stopped Carrying a Wallet When I Became Homeless”

I suppose I could use my old wallet, but it’s full of a life I no longer lead. The owner of that wallet once had an apartment, a full time job, and disposable income, an abundant life that utilized all of the slots.

---

Saying Yes to the Dress, Pt 2: KLEINFELD’S

Ringing the Universe Room were more racks of dresses than there are stars in the heavens: ivory dresses, cream dresses, dusky rose dresses, apricot dresses, even a couple of goth-style black dresses for effect. (No one tried them on.)

---

The Delicate Nature of Asking Your Parents for Financial Help

I have not asked my parents for very much, mostly because they’ve never had much, financially, to give. As a child, if you grow up with not that much, you don’t know what you’re missing. For so long, your worldview is only as big as the two-block radius you’re allowed to travel, and since you return home every night like a little boomerang, you only understand what it is that happens inside your house. You only understand the world within the context of what you’re living with, so when I was growing up, I understood on a very basic level that we had enough to get by.

---

How to Work as an Extra and Regret Doing It

I have a BFA in Theatre Arts and an MFA in Playwriting, or two degrees that have given me a lot of artistic integrity and zero dollars. As a result, I have lots of part-time jobs that are very peripherally related to my field of interest (if at all). One of those jobs, sometimes, is being an extra in TV shows and movies. I’ve only done this twice, for reasons which will become clear to you shortly.

---

Ask An Assertive Person, Vol 1: Discounts

I’m unafraid to ask for student discounts, corporate discounts, damaged-item discounts, and the nebulous “Is there any way to get a better price on this item?” discount at chain stores and other places that I suspect will want to accommodate me.

---

Every Job I’ve Had: Indoor Bouncy House, Defense Contractor, Traveling Nerd

Two years in and I’ve succeeded in my one and only goal: to not send any inappropriately adorable otter videos to my clients.

---

An Illustrated True Saga of Costly Car Repair

At Coney Island on the last weekend of my kids’ summer vacation, we rode the Cyclone, which has been operating under electric power since 1927.

When we started our long journey home, it was on the subway, which has more than a century of electrically powered travel under its belt.

From there, we got on a Metro North commuter train, another shining example of electric locomotion. Our car was in the parking garage at the station in New Haven, waiting to carry us on the final leg of our journey.

But alas, the last bit of our electric journey was ill-fated: our little ’02 Prius, reliable in its first decade and, thereafter, in its first year with us, greeted us with a dashboard full of automotive alarm. The central feature was an icon of an exclamation point inside the silhouette of a car. Traditionally, this symbol appears as a very small light on the dashboard of gas cars and means “check tire pressure” (even though it seems like it should mean, simply, “Car!”). But in a Prius, according to our owner’s manual, it means, “Hybrid system error. TAKE CAR TO TOYOTA DEALER IMMEDIATELY.”

---