Thoughts on bureaucratic terror

I called NJ Unemployment this morning to file my claim, only to discover that there are no more Extended Benefits even if there is money remaining in the claim.

Blam. Just like that. This is not a “Benefits Exhausted” announcement that leads to yet another tier of benefits. This appears to be the real deal this time. See, the employment situation has so improved in New Jersey (I was collecting from Jersey even when I was in Pennsylvania), that nobody needs extended benefits anymore. You can walk in to a company and have any job you want. Right.

I’m glad I filled my gasoline tank yesterday. I’m scared and getting a bit desperate. To answer the next question, no, I’m not having fun yet. The Housing Authority will reduce my rent, but then I have to buy food. Funny about that. Food is good.

I have to feed my cat. Funny about that, too. And no, I’ll be damned if I surrender him to the SPCA. It costs $100 to turn in an animal and I don’t have it–but he’s also my best friend, he’s 14 years old, and how could I do that to him by giving him a one-way ticket to euthanasia?

So I’ve started to reread The Book of Job. Don’t laugh too hard. This is an old building, after all. All I have left is desperation, trust, and as much prayer as I can muster.

I’m just plain scared.

Update: A day later I’m out of the woods, I think. I talked to a live person at Unemployment. Mistake or not, I’m not being turned out into the cold by the State. I can feed the cat and myself. I can gas up my car and go marketing. The whole situation remains scary and tenuous but it’s not an incipient disaster.

Last night I saw a guy at an AA meeting who turned my head around like I was the little girl in The Exorcist. He was from the visiting commitment and he led the meeting. He had no arms. Right. During an alcoholic episode years ago he fell under the wheels of a New Jersey Transit train and lost both arms. He holds a job now, using prosthetics. He may be the bravest man I’ve ever  met. Many people would just give up and die. This guy woke up and lived. He’s miraculous.

I don’t have much to complain about, do I?


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