22.10.14 (Day 304, still)
I’ve been awake for seven hours now and for most of that time, I’ve been fighting: with technology that doesn’t work (it took me two hours to compose and send a couple of emails); with people who think they want or need me and with a system designed to drive myself and people like me away and into the ground, where we’ll no longer be a problem. Unfortunately for them, I don’t give up; I will not be kept down.
These are daily frustrations and those who have never had to deal with this sort of thing won’t understand. I wish I could say that I hope those people will never have to deal with what I do on a daily basis but I actually wish they would. Then perhaps they’d realise what the fight is like. I used to be one of those people but having lived on the other side now for almost a year, I’ve developed an empathy, sympathy and understanding that most of those people will never have to possess. These are the people who ask why things haven’t been sorted out by now; the people I challenge to spend just one week out here and see if they survive. Most wouldn’t.
I’m an anarchist, as most who know me know. Anarchy is not about chaos. It’s a belief in a system that isn’t governed but which instead relies on mutual co-operation to the benefit of all. I’ve only re-embraced anarchy since being out here and experiencing first hand what life is like for the downtrodden; the cast aside; the ignored and abandoned. We fight the governing classes.
Of course the political and societal system which we have has benefited me in the past but now it’s working against me. This morning has been a case in point, or microcosm:
My medical certificate for Alcohol Dependence is due to expire soon. A new one has been issued but the local doctors surgery are unable to send it to The Department for Work and Pensions, which is where it needs to go for my benefits to continue to be paid. If it’s not there in time, my benefits will be suspended. The required means of contact with DWP is by fax. The fax number is one which is almost impossible to find online but even if one has it, it is constantly busy. They just want rid of us.
I could make phone calls and ask people in authority to assist me. In order to make calls though, I need credit on my phone (I’m out). I’d have the required credit to contact people (and DWP) if DWP hadn’t docked my benefits. So I can’t afford to do what they require of me and which they have indirectly denied me the means to do.
So that’s another morning wasted and the battle will have to continue another day but my medical certificate expires on a date prior to my next benefits payment. If I were in receipt of the latter, I’d be able to make facilitating phone calls as an end to the former. Chicken and egg. Vicious circle. Being unwell is sometimes a full-time job.
So I’ve lost half a day which I could have spent building my business. Of course if that takes off, all benefits will cease and there’s no guaranteed income from a young business but at least I’ll be in charge. I don’t like to be controlled or dictated to.
Frustration at lack of progress this morning has been compounded by the usual needy ones needing me for really not much at all. I’m busy! Or at least I’m trying to be busy. When I don’t respond immediately to trivial requests for advice or assistance I’m asked what’s up? I really don’t have time to explain everything to everyone, which is why I always quote the same four letters: RTFB! It’s all in here: most of what almost everyone needs to know. I do make exceptions of course but for the most part, just read this fucking blog!
Meanwhile I’m arranging to meet my kids again and trying to build a business, whilst nursing a very painful leg (the one which was mashed up many years ago). The leg is so painful at the moment that I’d happily have it amputated. Perhaps I’ll donate it to the local kebab shop, or find another use for it. Long Pig on the menu this week then.
So that’s what I’m up to, that’s why I’m angry and frustrated and that’s why I can’t talk to everyone all of the time. For the rest of the day, I’ll be trying to build a business using the equipment I have. Things ought to speed up soon with the arrival of a new keyboard for the tablet I swapped the netbook I’m currently using and which I’m swapping back. The netbook is slow and the tablet is fast. With the keyboard, I’ll be on a roll and this is thanks like so much else to the generosity and kindness of my host family.
If I get anything at all done, it’ll be more than I’ve achieved over the last couple of days. In any case, I shall chill out later with some online poker.
Another day of rolling the dice, then playing a game which is much more skill than chance and therefore where I’m more comfortable.