Walking the wrong way on an escalator and "Red Dawn" dreams

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I received my severance package today, though I don’t necessarily think that package is the right word for enough cash to get you through one month.

But I paid this month’s mortgage and put another mortgage payment in savings, which left us with enough to keep the lights and heat on for the same amount of time. Here’s hoping for a warm fall.

I’ll get into the nightmare of navigating the unemployment aid system in another post. I’m still reflecting on its vagaries and endless bureaucratic labyrinths.

There is something very terrifying about that remaining number on your bank ledger. Knowing that it’s fairly final, and you won’t see it that high again for an undetermined amount of time. But it also plays into the adventure side of things. I’ve often wondered about our resiliency in tough times.

Everyone talks about putting away six months of living expenses so you can get through those troughs in life. But every time you reach a big milepost, it seems to cost you your six month savings. Buy a new car or make a down payment on a house. Pay a large hospital bill or a surgery for a beloved pet, and poof, there it goes.

Out of everyone I know, I’d be willing to bet maybe one or two actually have the luxury of sitting on six months worth of living expenses. We certainly don’t.

I have “Red Dawn” dreams. Those end-of-the-world apocalyptic, the-Commies-are-coming sort of dreams where city slickers have to re adapt to the wilds and living off the land. Last year my wife and I did a caveman diet, where we tried to eat mostly meats, nuts and raw fruits and veggies. It’s almost impossible to do this anymore.

A layoff doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be eking out a living on mushrooms and goat milk with dirty faced children running around our mountain outpost, but seeing the remains of your working life summed up in a few numbers next to a dollar sign makes you think about what’s over that precipice that we’re trying to stay away from like kids walking the wrong way on an escalator.


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