Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 5:57 PM
Subject: My story - the_chavi
My future is not quite as bright as they told us in commencement this year. i can't afford to go home to my parents' house in Memphis, and they can't afford to help me move back, so i'm stuck in St. Louis with a lease that runs out in less than a week. i have to figure out how to get all of my furniture and possessions into a new home soon. i'm waiting on a job with the federal government (security clearance hold up, imagine that), but i'm afraid that the federal budget will get slashed and i won't be hired. The worst part is that i just got an MA studying Arabic, the Arab world, Islamist movements, and oil politics. i have exactly what the government needs, and they probably won't hire me.
My day job has slowed down, too. i've worked at a Starbucks in Clayton (small, rich suburb of St. Louis) for the past two years, and our traffic has slowed down a lot. If we have to cut down our hours and staff, i'd be among the least likely to be fired since i'm more competent than most of the people, but even working on our normal schedule all of the partners are feeling the hit. Our tips have gone way down, cutting my wages by about 20%. It's not like i can apply for unemployment benefits or anything, because none of us report the full amount of tips we receive! i guess that's karma. i've had to change my hours around, too... normally i work the opening shift, getting there at 4.45 AM, but since i live 20 blocks or more away from my store, i'm depending on mass transit to get in, which doesn't start until 5.15 or so. My neighborhood isn't in the ghetto, but we're not often patrolled by the cops, either, so i'm a little leery of riding a bike to work. i haven't touched a bike since i was 8, and anyway riding one at 4 AM sounds like a ripe opportunity to crack open my skull.
Maybe the rest of St. Louis is becoming more isolated, but my street has grown a little closer. We've been sitting outside most evenings to get a breeze, since we've essentially shut off our air conditioners. The last time we did this was after the big storm last summer, and the summer before that... but it's a little more serious now. We're planning some street potlucks to clean out our freezers and to share the food. Freezer-burned pork never looked so good...
i miss my parents. They couldn't make it to my graduation, even though i am the first person in my family to graduate. i can't afford to go see them on my budget, and they can't afford to come see me since my dad's income is commission-based in the agricultural equipment industry. That is to say, his income is greatly reduced. It looks like i'm stuck in St. Louis for a while.