Friday, June 20, 2008

nothin goin on but the rent

Somewhere in the late 80's at St Andrews Secondary school, Blantyre. Me and my mates and our 'flicked' hairdos and our (probably) hot pink skirts and our plastic gummy shoes and our beatbox. Probably the top dorm, in Livingstone hostel. Where the girls get a couple of hours "free" time on a Saturday afternoon after our weekly trip to town,where we gorged ourselves on fanta floats at the green and pink ice-cream palace. And stocked up on essentials like sickly sweet smelling spray deo, packets of custard creams and cassava crisps from the Kandodo, sachets of Malawi gin smuggled in our bras and 10packs of Life cigarettes.

Me and my girls in the dorm at the top of the steps. Or was it already that cubicled arrangement where everyone started falling out miserably coz you could hear each other's girly alliances and heartbreaks through the cardboard walls. Whichever dorm it was, you could be sure that on a saturday afternoon in 1988 the air would be tangled with the tunes from several competing beatboxes. Maybe Aggie and her gang had some Lionel Ritchie going. Billie would undoubtedly be listening to her heartthrob Billie Idol's white wedding. Mel and Kim, or Salt n Peppa clanging with someone else's crooning Billy Ocean and someone else's moonwalkin Michael Jackson. This was my education, people. When people talk to me about TV from those years I got no matching files. We had weekend video night, sure. How many times is it possible to watch Ferris Beula's Day Off or endless Eddie Murphy? Well, I guess we in the back row weren't actually watching. But when it came to the important stuff we quoted sound bytes from Whitney, Feargal Sharkey and the Boss. And of course the inimitable Gwen Guthrie:
"No romance without finance
No romance without finance

Boy, nothin' in life is free
That's why I'm askin' you what can you do for me
I've got responsibilities
So I'm lookin' for a man whose got money in his hands

`Cause nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You got to have somethin' if you wanna be with me
Oh, life is too serious, love's too mysterious
A fly girl like me needs security

`Cause ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me
Ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me

No romance without finance
I said no romance without finance"

Yes, scary isn't it? There are a couple of songs that really embedded themselves in there as anthems for a group of awkward gin-sneaking Life-smoking we'resocoolkids who hung out at the Art Block. "Don't want no short-dick man" we'd assure each other like we were doing the haka. Did we even know what we meant?

Funny thing is, tho. I am utterly unable to assimilate these wise words drifting back at me from a couple of decades back. I don't mean the bit about the short dick man. I mean the bit about the damn rent-paying man.

So here I am, officially unemployed, but in reality far too busy to be interested in holding down a real job. The man is doing rather well, and generously offering financial assistance whenever I get that pale look as the end of the month comes hurtling towards me. But I find it so damn hard to accept. I engage in juvenile power plays and inadequacy self-talk marathons. Even tho two years back it was me with the J.O.B. while he wrote dictionaries and engaged in dodgy publishing contracts. I get seriously miffed when my independence is tested (by my own exacting standards) and found wanting. When I want to go to an arts festival and can't finance it myself. When I have a period like I've just had, where for the life of me I cannot figure out how to crack the veiled seals and codes of capital and my account starts to flatline. What is going on? Take the money with a smile, girl. The words you're looking for are "thanks, see you next week."


So anyway, this was all by way of a long introduction to something else I wanted to share - how I applied a problem solving process to my wretched cash flow situation, all alone in a party for one in the bathroom. However the day beckons and I will have to serialise this, and give you part 2 tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.


Miranda said...

Hey dearest,
MAN, sorry to hear about B's fall. A gentle hug for him. Just got back from a week in Malama. Will call you soon. Hey, take the bucks with a thanks - its what I do! And gets much easier the more you do it! hahaha!

Janelle said...

ah darlin'! loooooving your it..your writing is so fuckin' fine tuned...lovin' it..loving you babes...yeah...Do It. XXX janelle

tam said...

Ag Janella are you for real? Thanks for the encouragement dorl, it's much needed right now!
enjoy your family and lots of love