My next door neighbor told me that I make about as much at my job as a Professor at Tulane. I don't think she can be accurate, since Tulane is such a pricy and prestigious school. She teaches there, but I'm not sure on what pay scale she teaches.

I'm sure in comparison, I make as much as a few other well-respected occupations. But you wouldn't know it if you looked at my life:

You wouldn't know it if you looked at my car, a beat up Festiva. You wouldn't know it if you were with me in the drive thru at the bank, unable to cash a $20 check because I didn't have $20 in the bank to cover it, or how embarrassing that is. You wouldn't know it if you saw where I lived, a cute apartment in a sketchy neighborhood, a place with no insulation and no heat or air except for ceiling fans and one gas heater that is in such a precarious spot that it's not going to heat jack shit when winter comes.

You wouldn't know it if you looked inside my closet, where I have been given charity hand me downs and thrift buys, which are indeed nice, but I sometimes feel like such a bum that I can't seem to do better for myself.

Where does all the money go, if not somewhere it can be seen, felt, heard? I could say debt, I could say carelessness, I could say I'm filling another hole inside of me with distractions that can be paid for with money, and all of it would be true. And yet, things keep breaking down on me, I never seem to have what I need, nor the things I even want, on a whim.

I buy time. Time alone away from my daily grind. Away from people who often wear me out, away from myself. There are nights where I rest my head in my hands and hours go by and the world is silent and not one pleasant picture is thrown up on the screen in my mind. And my heart is a lonely place. But you wouldn't know it unless you were already in there, trapped.

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