Friday, 4 June 2010

On Being a Pauper Among Princes

Sometimes I feel like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. I lose the ability to imagine a time when I will be financially comfortable and not have to live from payday to payday.

As you know, I think London is an amazing place and, I imagine, an a-m-a-a-a-z-i-n-g place for those with enough money to really go to town. However, when you're down on your luck it's possible to feel completely invisible. Friday was one of those days. I walked from work to the station, passing swanky restaurants and chic bars full to bursting with the suited and booted and, despite being too hungover to really want to partake in any drinking, my green eyed monster couldn't be tamed. I got stuck walking behind a woman in designer heels, her fingers dripping in diamonds and clutching bags full of newly purchased haute couture. I can normally appreciate sophistication, but on Friday it felt like a slap in the face. I got off the Tube, and walked through the City to catch my train; through a Tetris like landscape of skyscrapers and high-rise office blocks. To think of the amount of money that flies through these companies doesn't help - as staggering as the figure may be, my pockets remain empty. Carving a living among these cliffs of glass, steel and concrete can seem impossible.

But, at the same time, it's not all bad. I would do well to remember that broke for me isn't actually broke at all - I still have a roof over my head, a job and great friends who will kindly provide me with drink and good conversation (you know who you are); I should try to keep an objective head on my shoulders. And despite London offering plenty for a high price, you don't have to be rich to enjoy it. There's loads to do that isn't too expensive, and my time in the posh restaurants will come - because something else London offers in abundance is opportunity. I'm quite happy to put up with my meagre pay for a while yet, until I win the lottery (which I have scheduled for late 2011).

Going off on a complete tangent, I leave you with a line from this article in the Guardian, which I came across earlier today and really liked:

We love as hard in Harrow as Hollywood, but nobody's interested in our tender limericks, written on an iPhone on a night bus home, or our verging-on-misogynist pet names.
Someone loved us once too: one day we'll prove it with our archived texts.


  1. I'm totally with you on this. I used to work in a place where I was surrounded by "rich kids" and those who have been working there for years. Unfortunately for me, since I was new and it was my first job, I was on the minimum wage bracket. Which, given my surroundings, sucked. I managed to stay there for 2 years. After that, I found an office that pays way better (but with health benefits that suck). I'm still looking for a job that pays good and gives better health benefits, though.

    And I can't wait for 2011. Hope we win the lottery at the same time and I'll treat you out for a drink. As long as you treat me out for food. Well, we'll be rich at that time. I guess it'll be "drink and eat all you can" for us.

    I know, right?

    Damn, I love your honesty!

  2. But would you rather be doing a job in a heartless environment for a large salary or a job you enjoy for a smaller pay packet?

    I know what I would choose!


  3. This was really nice! It made me smile, as I think we're in the same situation, money-wise:) I suppose London can be very big, but that feeling you're talking about can be felt just as well in Oslo, the biggest city in Norway where 500.000 people live...

  4. Aw, sorry you're feeling like a pauper. Really enjoying your blog, though!

  5. I am like that too sometimes. I feel underprivilege. But when i feel the comfort from the smile of family and friends, i think to myself, who need those things.

    Love this post!

  6. @ Gnetch - speedy commenting there, of which I am very appreciative. I think it's highly possible we'll win the lottery on the same day. Forget buying drinks and food, I'm buying whole restaurants and bars. We can eat and drink for free then. Forever.

    @ London Girl - this is too true. I'd like to say I'd stay with the job I like...but who knows, maybe the megabucks would prove to tempting to resist. No! No, I'd choose a job I liked. I would. I think.

    @ Alexandra - you're right; I suppose it's probably the same anywhere there's enough people, and also people so rich so close to people who aren't...quite so rich. I'm glad it made you smile! :)

    @ Mishieru - I'm pleased you liked it :) And also, yeah, you're right. Money would be nice but there are more important things I should concentrate on more often.

  7. @ Sadako - I'm sorry I completely missed your comment there, how rude of me. Thanks for reading and I'm really pleased you like it. The pauper feeling will probably pass as soon as I get paid, and then hit me again sometime next month...a never-ending cycle of prince-to-pauper-to-prince...!

  8. ..and sometimes,it feels too damn good to know that there are others like you everywhere.Will pass.Am sure =) Love how you narrate things,its not a murder mystery,but is gripping. :)

  9. Sigh.

    First, *pat* there, there.

    Second, I know exactly how you feel.

    Think about it though: you could be a corporate drone and make the megabucks if you wanted. But you'd be bloody miserable and spend all of it down at the pub drinking your sorrows away rather than celebrating your hard earned wealth.

    And, you get to be cooler than a corporate drone. "I work for a book publisher" sounds way better than "I work for some random MNC that makes me sound as though I have a shoe up my arse". Trust me.

  10. Hello, some days I know I am saving the world by teaching, but when I'm old and grey - I'm not so sure this scrapping by thing will be the smartest ever - I guess there is a whole lot between now and then though.