IMR: 1997: December: 10 -- Wednesday, 11:22 p.m.
Our Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i
It's official. We're on welfare.

Women with Infant Children, or WIC, a grocery voucher system set up to help guarantee healthy children. Not "general assistance" or "food stamps" exactly, but close enough.

Derived from my $267.43 pay stub and Jen's $259.92, we're entitled to $120 per month for specific items. We're actually too well off for meat and the like, limited instead to milk, juice ("no grape"?), specific cereals and dried beans and peas.

It will help, though, a lot. Just in time, too... we baked our second-to-last frozen pizza last night, and we ate the last of the chicken (from my dad's freezer) tonight.

You know, I'm writing so matter of factly about it, but it's a profound step in many ways. I always saw government assistance as a last resort, an option for those at the end of their rope.

Are we at the end of our rope? No. In fact, the guilt has already started to bubble. We live in Hawai`i, in the heart of Waikiki; I work as a webmaster and go to college; Jen has a full-time job and we have a car... What the hell are we doing leaning on the government?

But it's hard to make apologies when I realize how often our diet is limited to condensed soup, soda crackers and Kool-Aid. Jen's pregnant. The way we eat at times is damn near criminal.

Same old, same old... property rich, cash poor.


You know, I just realized. Looking at the numbers from our pay stubs... Even though I only work 18 hours per week -- sitting on my ass in front of big-screen Macs, in fact -- I earn more than Jen does on her feet all day, full-time, at a cash register.

It's so unfair. The way things work out sometimes makes me want to put my fist through a wall.

A year ago, I couldn't have cared less about school. I just kept going because my parents paid for it... and because I loved my job at Ka Leo. Yet Jen, for whom school was always the highest calling, was forced to drop out because her financial aid ran out.

Her dreams and wants are so simple... I hate that fate conspires to keep me from giving them to her. For now, at least.

Yesterday in IMR: "I'm probably going to be hearing about that mad rant for a while."

And boy oh boy, did I indeed. My, how did the fur fly.

My own damn fault, of course. Among the recipients of my little diatribe was William, who in a matter of minutes had conveyed the contents therein to my victim.

Not that I fault William for any betrayal of trust... Firstly, my constant criticisms are so routine they generally fall on deaf ears. Secondly, any psychologist would be quick to point out I probably expected as much -- looking to get a rise out of the chap.

I got considerably more than a rise. Last night Micheal fired off his rebuttal. The subject line was "Fuck you" and it was all downhill from there.

In deference to generally accepted protocols of internet ethics, I must share an excerpt that I found particularly colorful, and one that William has quoted with glee all day:

"I will shove your fucking Powerbook up your ass, cram your two fucking digital cameras in your nose, and jam you palm pilot so far down your throat you will have to poke yourself in the nuts with a stylus to calculate your degree of pain."

The graphic incorporation of techie gizmos warranted special mention. Overall, however, the unrelenting crudeness was upsetting. To think my generally articulate, angrily sarcastic message spawned something like that...

More disturbing were scattered references to past complaints and other sore spots on both sides that, for the most part, had been quietly buried. If anything, it must have been theraputic... nothing was sacred. Nothing. Whew.

The timing of our sour moods could not been any worse. We were both stewing in our own acrid juices. I -- in initiating the whole mess -- was unsympathetic to his recent relationship problems of which I have only limited knowledge (for good reason, I'm sure). He, in responding, was clearly in no mood -- this time -- to humor my premature-midlife-crisis-derived crankiness.

"Turn in your badge if you want. I don't fucking care and it's probably best for you and your family anyway."

No truer words have ever been spoken.

Where's William in all this? Taking it in stride... but pretty much wanting to kick both our asses.

So, it's midnight. How am I doing on that "force-field analysis" paper?

Well, I've highlighted a few things.

I just can't concentrate tonight. I think after Hawaiian tomorrow, I'm going straight to the Mac lab to write this thing. Strobel had mentioned that the last class isn't terribly vital, so I'll just call him later to ask my grade (and whether I'll have to take his brutal final).


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 9 December 1997 · Last Modified: 11 December 1997