Monday, March 28, 2011
Two things I am aware of on a daily basis. The one is that I am likely living the best days of my life here in Bali. The other is that this likely cannot last, for I am running out of money. Obviously these are mutually contradictive sorts of reality, and yet neither seems able to exist on its own without having always the other in mind. It is keenly disappointing, after having worked all my life since the age of 16 or so--working, moreover, the last 20 years for a single company--that I am left with a retirement income not sufficient even for five years in one of the world's weakest economies. I had set out to live on my savings until the time came when I began to collect Social Security. It's not working out that way. Thirty thousand dollars I have to my name. It will last perhaps two more years, at which time I will be 59 (still young, yes?). Native people here believe with all their heart that, being a Westerner, I have money. Would that their convictions were true. But the fact is I have less money than many of them. That's why they will not see me often in MacDonalds, KFC, or any of the other Bule restaurants. That's why they will not see me at Water Boom or Discovery Mall. That's why they will not see me in the shopping district at Seminyak or the cliff-side hotels in Jimbaran. I love my life here. I hate that it must seemingly end. I love being able to do all the I used to dream of doing while I had instead to work 40 hours a week collecting those riches I and my family now live on. I hate the thought of going back to work at my age. I did believe for some time, and with some conviction, that the books I had written over the last couple years must soon find homes at publishing houses, thus augmenting my poor income--but I despair of this now. My agent, not himself to be blamed, given the quality of his own dogged, nearly tireless efforts, explains that the economy is simply very bad, and the publishing business worse. Damn the American economy! Damn the Indonesian economy too. (Btw, why is this damn blog not retaining my formatting when I post?).