Friday, January 19, 2018

El coronel no tiene quien le escriba

I work for a public school system. The city where that public school system is located is responsible for paying my invoices. I have a contract but no benefits other than the fact that I get to work from wherever I am, so long as I have my computer and an internet connection.

Why am I mentioning this? Because, it takes forever to get paid. Funding for public education on a national level is not the priority it should be. The school system that I work for, saw a freeze in the fall. As I understand it, only some of the funds to pay translators were released to the city due to budgetary restraints. That means that I've been paid only twice since the start of the school year back in August/September.

I have a brutal time saving money because I have a giant cash-flow problem. When I don't get paid on time, I incur debt. I have to take out loans. Then, when I get paid, I have to immediately turn around and cancel out as much of that debt as possible. And what remains, I use to pay taxes, maybe stash a little money in my IRA, keep as much cash on hand but then, what? How long will it be 'til my next paycheck? And the cycle starts up again. It's excrutiatingly frustrating. 

So, it's nearing 5pm on a Friday. I haven't seen a paycheck in about 6 weeks. I'm owed about a quarter of my yearly earnings, I have taxes that I still need to pay. It's my husband's birthday and I can't even go out to buy him a present or invite him to dinner. It is aggravating to say the least, and I no longer feel any satisfaction raising a fuss about my invoices not being processed on time when I call the Accounts Payable department. I feel like a brat for complaining. Then again, bills are due when they're due and I hate borrowing money like I've had to do for the better part of these past five or six months. Maybe the answer is to find another job, or another profession. Music isn't necessarily going to solve my financial woes, but in the past, it has always been that extra pad of income to get me through tough times like this. And for that, I'm really grateful to all the folks who have been following the blog and purchasing albums from the Bandcamp. I really appreciate that. It has helped me keep food in the fridge and I am always conscious of that fact.

Anyway, as I sit here this afternoon, returning emails and messages, and trying to stay organized with stuff, it occurs to me that one of the great Colombian authors, Gabriel García Márquez, has already captured what I'm going through, perfectly; much more profoundly and eloquently. So, this afternoon, I recommend a book that I read shortly after my father died. It's called El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (in English: No One Writes to the Colonel). Here's a link to the Wikipedia entry about the novella.  

From Wikipedia: The novel, written between 1956 and 1957 while living in Paris in the Hôtel des Trois Collèges and first published in 1961, is the story of an impoverished, retired colonel, a veteran of the Thousand Days' War, who still hopes to receive the pension he was promised some fifteen years earlier. The colonel lives with his asthmatic wife in a small village under martial law. The action opens with the colonel preparing to go to the funeral of a town musician whose death is notable because he was the first to die from natural causes in many years. The novel is set during the years of "La Violencia" in Colombia, when martial law and censorship prevail.

No comments:

Post a Comment