BootsnAll Travel Network

Decisions, decisions

I whoop with pleasure, reading the travel blogs of thirty-somethings out exploring the world alone (see My Links on the right sidebar), and sometimes I feel a little weird going on with this blog when, until July 25, my travels are interior. That is, I am nattering and figuring, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing lists of figures till I feel like I’m nothing but a jumble of numbers myself. Nobody ever told me that “retirement” involves making a HEAP of really BIG decisions about things (like money) I know nothing in the world about. I might also add that this process is gawdawful boring and therefore I am not (what a relief) going to chronicle it here. But that explains why I’ve been quiet the last few days. I’ve been doing THAT. What I can blog about, for those who want to know, is the fact that Manko and Kendra finally got paid; and the more I learn about Portland, Oregon, the better it seems.

So yes, the girls got paid. For last month’s work. Ten days late. And they’re going to keep their interview dates for today, hoping to get out of the madness that is the way this particular franchise sells Kirby Vacuum Cleaners. I understand that Kirbys are sold by small dealers all over the world, and those small dealers have their own ways of doing business, and maybe the girls just landed in a particularly sleazy small business man’s purview. Still, I hope they get out, and get out soon, before they put in another month of twelve-hour days only to wait and wait to see if they will ever be paid again (which seems unlikely). If they are smart, they will set aside their rent money for August right now, before they are broke again. I wonder…. But it’s not my business.

Ahhh, Portland. What a dream city. I know it can’t ALL be good, and I wish I had a way to spend more than two and a half days there at the end of my travels this summer, but that’s all there is, and I’m glad at least to have two and a half days to sniff around–literally, it’s really important to me how a building SMELLS–and to look at the various (I love these euphemisms) elder/senior/retirement housing complexes, and otherwise have a good time in a cool city.

The three most intriguing “retirement communities” were set up in 1962 by union labor leaders in the building trade movement. Their motto is, “We believe that everyone earns the right to retire, free from pressures of earlier years.” That sounds good, although when I think about people in the third world, or poor and working-poor people like my whole family, throughout the USA, I reflect that although maybe everyone “earns” that right, only the most fortunate are ever able to enjoy it. Maybe, thanks to Section 8, I can be one of them. I’ll see.

That’s the next thing I figured out. Portland isn’t the only place in the USA where people can live on 30% of whatever they make. Section 8 is a federal housing program, at one time available everywhere in the USA, but it’s administered differently in each city. In Houston, for example, there are ghettos full of Section 8 renters of all ages, carefully separated from upstanding citizens who can pay unsubsidized rents, but now the waiting list for Section 8 in Houston has been closed–and the waiting list was two years long before it was closed–because the demand for affordable housing so far outstrips the supply that it’s all a hopeless mess, and poor people in Houston can just go eat cake crumbs and die, for all their right-wing gerrymandered legislature cares.

And–should we be surprised?–during the Bush years there have been major cuts in funding for this program: “Section 811 had been proposed for deep cuts in the President’s FY 2007 budget (a proposed reduction of $120 million, and elimination of all but $15.8 million from the capital advance/project-based side of the program).”

For those who are interested, there’s a small left-wing movement to save Section 8, sponsored by people like Maxine Waters (who bravely opposed the Iraq War almost by herself in 2001 and has since led a movement to impeach Dick Cheney) and Barney Frank (Massachusetts’ openly left-handed gay Jewish legislator once famous for his rumpled look and the slogan, “Neatness Isn’t Everything”). So I guess the point of all this is that even if I do wrangle a Section Eight housing voucher for myself in Portland, where there is less demand and better administration than in other places, it may all be taken away if the country’s funding priorities continue to be invading other people’s countries and building better bombs. Everything (no surprise) is impermanent. But it’s a hope I have….

After promising not to be boring I am now veering sharply in that direction, so I will shut up.

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-1 responses to “Decisions, decisions”

  1. stephenbrody says:

    No, it’s not boring, but be wary of people who use the word ‘rights’. There’s no such thing, it was another ‘theory’ invented by French Revolutionists to justify taking from someone else what you wanted yourself and making the same ill-use of it. The righteous are always the ones to be most feared.

    If only one knew one’s mortal span the arithmetic would be much simplified. It certainly IS a bore trying to calculate those economies….

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