Shannon Moon's Blog

Life As I Know It

Shannon Moon

Shannon Moon
Ruraltopia, Pennsylvania, USA
December 31
I am a librarian, teacher, writer, philosopher, mother, daughter, granddaughter, perpetual student, recluse and lover of literature and music. What else is there? Really. I can be found here:


DECEMBER 6, 2011 7:54AM

Just the Numbers, Please

Rate: 1 Flag


4:21 Shannon



Be not afraid of your life.




Really that’s the time that I woke up, my body refusing to go back to sleep, unable to let go of the creepy dream (another day, another blog).  But then my mind began its race, more of a caged gerbil in a spinning wheel than anything that might actually get me somewhere.  Sometimes I wake up, for no discernible reason, and find myself locked into that same horrifying thought:




I am going into credit card debt and I have absolutely no way to get out.




My new job pays $8 an hour.  My last job, with a 4 month hiatus in between, paid $12.60.  I was unbelievably relieved to have gotten a job at all.  My last job was comparable to my job as a substitute teacher, making $85 a day.  When I was subbing, I had marveled that I actually made about half of what a real teacher made.  


Sometimes I marvel that teachers make so little in comparison to other educated professionals, all nasty joking (those that can’t do, teach) aside.  


My neighbor (late sixties, early seventies; no job history that I’ve ever heard of, a true housewife, married to a man that does odd jobs and may or may not have ever worked a good job in his life) has often complained how teachers make so much money.  Which is true?


I guess it depends on your perspective.  


Since I only work 21 hours per week, as a children’s librarian, I make about $168 a week, or $672 a month, and theoretically just over $8,000 a year.  


The poverty line is around $19,000.


As the single parent of 2 beautiful daughters, I find it unfathomable that I could somehow squeeze another job in there.  It’s not the hours, it’s the timing.  Who’s going to hire me to work only 2 weekdays each week?  I want to be home in the evenings and on weekends.  That’s when I need to be a parent.  


Even if I find that mythical job, it’ll likely pay only about what I make as a librarian (as anything that isn’t full time and works around another job is likely to be).  What I need is a full time job, with benefits.  Real librarians make good money--when they can find work.  


My car payment is $325 a month.  My student loan is $197.  (Housing is monetarily free--nothing is truly free--since I live with family.)


Now, without even taking out taxes, I am down to $150 each month.  Oh, don’t forget my big spender Ex, throwing in $93 per month in child support.  He works as a prison guard (I hope your wheels are turning and you are now wondering why he pays so little).  


That’s money for luxury items such as:


  • FOOD
  • GAS to go to work
  • CAR INSURANCE (legally required)



I can already hear the naysayers:  Just get a job, ShannonSuck it up.  What. . .do you think live OWES you something?


Amazingly, I have tried.  I’ve put in the effort.  I’ve sent out resumes (I cringe at the thought of the cost of all that postage, paper, envelopes, and beyond, all that time).  I’ve educated myself.  What did I forget?  Where did I go wrong?


And which is more important, not putting food on my credit card or buying my daughter a new pair of shoes (maybe I could bind her feet so that they stop growing)?  Are those luxuries, or necessities?  Don’t good parents provide for their children?  Isn’t it my job to provide, no matter what, even if it means working during the only hours I could possibly see them?  


And in the back of my mind, I think to myself:  when will I write?

Oh, to dream.


I keep thinking, maybe I should go back to subbing.  It might take up to a month to be (re)approved by the school board (are my clearances up to date? that’s another $100 for all 3).  But then, what if I get an grad assistantship (already applied for) next spring (working, one class at a time, on my Master’s in Library Science)?  It’d just be a waste of time and money to put my name back on the sub list.  I know from experience that my local school district fulfills their daily sub needs by having the secretary call them on the phone, and if you don’t work full time as a sub, you are the last to be called.  In fact, I might not get called at all.  


Should I try waitressing again?  I often made between $10 and $15 an hour doing that (if I refused to work during the day and only on weekends).  Could I do that to myself again?  Do I have it in me, physically and emotionally?  I honestly don’t know.  I’m a lot older now.


I don’t have an answer to any of these questions.  For now, I can only lie there, dollar bills floating through my mind, symbols of what I owe.  It terrifies me.  It wakes me up.  It keeps me awake.  

Author tags:

teachers, libraries, poverty, debt

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If you haven't already read "Nickle and Dimed" by Ehrenriech and "No Logo" by Klien you should. they clearly provide an enormous amount of information about how the system is heavily rigged by the oligarchies. they don't cover everything of course but the provide a good picture. The oligarchies have been shipping jobs over sead and consolidating so that they have almost complete control over the system and they can virtually dictate wages to those that have no political power. They've sent advertising budgets through the roof and cut manufacturing expenses to the bone so now everything they sell is falling apart prematurely.

They get away with this because they've corrupted and virtually eliminated democracy and obtained enormous amount of market power and because the public has been complacent.

That complacency is clearly beginning to change but it is just the beginning!
Z. Yes, I actually love "Nickeled and Dimed". She also has another good one: "This Land is Their Land". I like her writing style, and she typically writes stuff of particular interest to me.
Right now I am reading Lawrance Lessig's "Republic, Lost". I am so enthralled that I refuse to send it back, even though it is late (to interlibrary loan). It's a fantastic read, all about how we're all being screwed by special interests.
My family has been telling how the revolution is coming. I can't wait. I hope it's peaceful. I am a strong believer in non-violence. But the fact remains, no matter how much they get away with. . .no matter how much they steal. . .eventually the bill will come due. Eventually, the wealth that they have gotten by taking it from everyone else, well, someone's going to take it back. I just hope they survive. But, according to the proclaimers of revolution I've heard. . .just a few dead ones are all that is needed. I may disagree with the violence in their words, but I also fear their truth.
Thanks for commenting.
I haven't read "This Land is Their Land" but I read "Bait and Switch" which was also good although it couldn't match nickle and dimed which is hard to beat.

Lessig is good as well the new one is on my list!
Z. Yes, "Bait and Switch" was good as well--although I prefer "Nickled and Dimed" too.
The Lessig book is a good read, I just finished it and find myself ready to go out and join the protest. "Where do I sign up??"
We (collected/impersonal we) keep talking about how awful things are and saying that we should do something, but it seems like we keep waiting for someone else to pick up the mantle first and charge on, so that we can tag along. I am guilty of this as well. I have no excuse, unless you count working and going to school and raising my family as an excuse. But then, the dark voice in my head whispers, "That's what 'they' want." Could there be a they that wants to keep us so busy fighting to surviving that we forget that we have a duty to reform a broken system of gov't?