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«  Sun.12.10.2000  »
10:10 pm EST        33°F (1°C) in Ann Arbor
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I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record on this subject, but I still can't stand dealing with my parents. They continue to try to force me back into school next semester, long after I've made the decision to leave. I spoke with my mother just this evening, about four hours ago; she grilled me with a number of questions along the lines of, "So when do you get to register for classes?", "How are your grades coming along?", and "Are you studying for your final exams?". I'd like to be able to answer her truthfully, but the repercussions for doing so are far more severe than the consequences of lying and behind-their-back deals.

My parents' dream situation for next semester, if I am not attending U-M, is that I live at home and attend either Henry Ford Community College or U-M's Dearborn campus while working part-time. This would give them full control over every aspect of my life: when I wake up, when I eat meals, even when I'm allowed to shower, for God's sake. They will go further than that: when I can use my own computer — not even theirs, mind you, my own — on "their" electricity; where I can work, and (here comes the pièce de resistance) even whom I am allowed to have any contact with. Don't think that I'm making any of these up; my parents have done all of these things to me in the recent past.

I am just short of my 21st birthday; I refuse to live with all of those controls. I will live on the streets of southwest Detroit, among the Midwest's most hardcore gangstas, before I take up long-term residence with my parents. I may depend on them for a month or so, but at my soonest opportunity, I'm out. What's more about the controlling aspect of their behavior toward me, if I try to live with them long-term while repudiating their controls, they'll throw me out of the house. Clearly, I am screwed in any scenario that involves living with them on a long-term basis.

However, and this is what really puts my balls in a vise, I don't know how well my desire for independence will be greeted by some of the very people I would need to depend on for my survival (i.e., apartment landlords, potential employers, and automotive financing companies, among others). I know the things that have to be done to assist me, and in what order they need to be done, but I'm not sure that those people will come through with the assistance I need. For example: One of the jobs I am considering is a sub-sandwich-delivery job with Jimmy John's here in Ann Arbor. The job pays up to $13 per hour after tips are added, but as the title implies, a vehicle is required. I can work out short-term (very short-term) solutions toward that end, but eventually, I'll reach the point where my parents will slash the tires of the family's 1990 Buick Regal in an effort to "keep me from working too far away." (Note: While my father technically holds title to the Regal, and therefore has final authority over it, it was purchased with the intent that it would be for my use at my reasonable discretion. Over the last year, this has become less and less true, as they have asserted progressively more control over the car.) Back to the story: I'm hoping that I can take my first Jimmy John's pay stub to a car dealership and get them to give me financing on a car, but I have this sickening feeling that the finance representatives will look at the mere $5.25 guaranteed hourly wage, ignoring tips, and deny me financing. I furthermore fear that an apartment landlord would do the same.

I may be excessively paranoid in regards to these two situations, but I have to wonder. I mean, there are other jobs I can get that don't immediately require a vehicle. However, none of them pay anywhere near $13 per hour, meaning I'd need to work an ungodly number of hours to survive. Furthermore, at least until my friend Eric arrives here from California (and that will be mid-January at the earliest), I'm without my own transportation period should I be living in Ann Arbor anywhere. There are solutions to these problems, I know, but right now, it looks like Eric is the only person I can depend on, and he has limited financial resources of his own. He'll barely be able to make it himself, much less help me out at all. I really don't know what to do ...

Things should get better for me once late March rolls around, and the AATA starts taking applications for bus operator openings. Indian Trails will accept its own applications shortly thereafter, and based solely on the merits of my previous driving experience, I should be able to obtain both of those jobs. However, I once again fear here: will certain people at U-M Transportation Services hold on to their old grudges against me, and give potential employers such a scathing reference that I would be denied employment? I would sincerely hope that they wouldn't — basic human decency demands that they would have dropped them by now — but I do have to worry about that.

I know what you're thinking: "What's wrong with him? Why is he so excessively paranoid?" The last eight months of my life have been very difficult; at every turn, I've run into people standing in the way of my wishes. It's been almost as if the entire world has wanted to go out of its way to screw me over. If you, loyal readers, had been screwed over as many times and by as many people as I have been in the last eight months, I think you'd be a little cynical and paranoid too. Oh, and don't do like Stephenie Bulmon and think that I'm just trying to blame my own problems on other people, either; those other people would have shown a willingness to work with me and my shortcomings, rather than just dismissing me as "not good enough," if they weren't trying to screw me over.

It seems like every time I make an update here lately, I get all angry and defensive. I'm giving people the wrong impression of who I really am. Maybe I just won't update this for a long time; if you haven't seen an update here by mid-February, assume that I've taken the final step and blown my brains out.