Ted's Thirty Day Awakening
It’s not like Ted was unaware that this day was coming, he just was not as prepared for its arrival as he had thought.
The legal gyrations concerning the condo had come to an end. And there was some good news, the bank was giving him 45 days to move out. Unfortunately, just as he had not found steady work in the past two years, neither had he found a place to live. Not too many landlords willing to risk a tenant with his recent track record. And you should see their reaction when they realize that his income has dropped by close to 80% since 2015.
Lately, he had been imagining what it was going to be like being homeless. Wondering how former clients would react seeing him sitting under the bridge unwashed, unshaven with that “when will it end” look in his eyes.
Believe it or not, that was the good news.
The bank and their lawyer were demanding he pay them $156,000—due two weeks ago. And for every month that it was not paid in full, they would be adding on penalties plus a monthly fee for the lawyer to oversee the process. (Seems it takes a few hundred dollars a month to compensate the lawyer for checking to see if Ted sent them a check or not.)
After doing a little adding and subtracting, Ted realized that even if he paid them $1,000 a month for the next 15 years, he would still owe them money. The monthly fees and compounding interest would make it impossible to pay off the debt unless he won the lottery.
How could Ted motivate himself to continue to seek employment knowing that if he somehow managed to find work, the bank and their lawyer would get most if not all of it? Ted was certain that even the positive person he used to be (before his wife passed) even that person could not pull this off. Did they really expect him to work so they could get paid? It seems they did. (Or maybe they think Ted has money in some offshore account somewhere.)
How had Ted’s life come so unravelled? And was it worth the effort to try and piece it back together knowing there was no way to ever escape the hole he now found himself in?
Ted, right after his wife passed, was depressed (as one would expect). And his move to Hawaii, while fulfilling a promise to his wife, had none of the joy or excitement Deb and him had imagined when they talked about oving to paradise. He managed fairly well for the first three years. But, as had been the case all his life, the only social connections he made were work-related. Looking back, Ted realized that the only reason he had ever gone to a show or had dinner with friends was because of his wife. While she attracted people and thrived in a world of lunches and meetups and afternoons at the park, and unexpected calls from friends just to check in, Ted was the total opposite. In fact, the last time he had done anything social, that was not work related, was attending his wife’s funeral.
The bank, the lawyer, and the realization that he had no friends took his breath away. In the past five years, he could not recall anyone ever just dropping by, or calling to check in. Even his parents never just call. Ted’s birthday and Christmas or if the Canucks managed to beat the Flyers, those were the only times his parents would call. He could not recall ever picking up the phone and calling them.
Ted knows friendship and being social is a two-way street and for it to work he must participate—but he can’t.
Ted sat in the middle of the condo (the one where the “free rent” as the bank kept calling his months there without paying, were actually going to end up costing him over $7,000 a month—imagine the place you would be living in for that monthly amount!) and realized there was no way forward. No better tomorrow. No head held high. No swagger in his step. Everything he had hoped and dreamed about since childhood was never going to happen. Not now. Not ever. So, what he had to decide was how much longer was he going to keep holding on knowing it was nothing more than a waste of time.
Ted can’t dance, and he never will dance so maybe, just maybe, it’s time to turn out the lights and drift back into the shadows.