this pregnancy is racing by. only 15 weeks to go. it sounded like kind of a while until i realized that we’re talking fifteen weeks until jared & i become responsible for sustaining a tiny human life. not that i didn’t know that going in; it’s just kind of easy to lose sight of the big picture when the big picture is so fucking terrifying.
fewer than two weeks until jared is temporarily back in town (along with our friend amanda), two weeks to the day until the baby shower & the start of the second trimester. in three weeks, our babymoon in boston will be over & i’ll be back in lawrence by myself while jared tries to finish up his research on the east coast.
i have been going to bingo as much as i can while jared has been away. jared is generally pretty supportive of most things i want to do, in that he encourages me to do them even if he has no interest in joining me. i don’t think anything could compel him to play bingo. i myself have mixed feelings about it. it can be a very depressing scene. the game i play is at the american legion hall & most of the folks playing are clearly retirees. the young people that are playing would fit right in on an episode of “cops”. or in pretty much any scene from my childhood.
it’s not really a secret that i didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. my dad had a decent job at an oil refinery, but he was an alcoholic & a drug addict, so the money he made was not well-managed. there were times when we had nice things, like a house big enough for all us kids to have our own rooms, or a nintendo system right when they were first introduced. there were other times when i had to get through the entire school year rotating two shirts because there was no money for a third.
now that i’m an adult living on a disability income, obviously i am not exactly rolling around in giant piles of money all day. & especially with a baby on the way, i’ve had a lot of anxiety about money. but my impending motherhood is also making me think a lot about my own childhood & the weird baggage i carry around from it & what values or assumptions i might pass on to my kid. for example, sometimes when i’m going out in the evening & am not going to be around for dinner, jared makes himself a dinner of lentils or beans on toast. i don’t like to eat meals like that. my gut reaction is, “why are we eating this way? we’re not poor.” (even though we kind of are.) but i was also telling him recently that i never really got into foods he thinks i would like, such as pancetta or lamb chops, because i think of them as “rich people food,” ie, food that people like me don’t eat. regardless of the fact that i undoubtedly buy groceries that are comparable in price. i’m not saying that any of this makes a lick of sense. i am saying that growing up with such limited means gave me a weird complex about money in ways that i am still unraveling, over fifteen years after i left my parents’ house. i think about what relationship i want my kid to have with food & i hope s/he will have an adventurous palate & like healthy foods, regardless of how much or how little they cost.
this weird class whiplash totally happens at bingo too, because, let’s face it. you can just tell that most people at the bingo game don’t really have a lot of money. the parking lot is full of cars manufactured at some point in the 90s, & a large percentage of folks in the hall are wearing sweatpants. & although bingo can be a lot of fun, & the prizes at the game i play are quite generous (the smallest payout is $40), the expense of it all can add up if you don’t watch yourself–& you are by no means guaranteed to win every night you go. in addition to bingo, there are other gambling games available, & they are popular. i’ve talked to a few people at bingo who told me they usually “only” play about $50 worth of bingo cards, but they easily drop $100 on the other games. $150. games happen twice a week. that’s $1200 a month. you recoup almost all your costs if you win a single progressive black-out within the time limit (a $1000 prize), but the likelihood of that happening is not good. so basically, going to bingo is an exercise in watching people who don’t have much money piss away what little money they have. in that respect, it can be very depressing.
personally, i try to limit myself to $40 in cards & i don’t play the extra games. the last time i went to bingo, i won the first special of the night for a prize of $200. that’s the most i have ever won in one night of bingo & i was very happy. more often than not, i leave the hall having won nothing. i just find the process of stamping the cards relaxing. i have heard tell of people who play bingo specifically to raise scratch for expensive hobbies they have (pageants, doll collecting, etc). i don’t get that. i haven’t kept track, but it seems like you pay more to play then you end up winning. the game i play actually posts statistics on this. they claim that they pay out, on average, 75% of their take. not 100% & definitely not more than 100%. & it’s in no way a game of skill, so there’s nothing you can do to increase your chances of winning besides get fast enough at dabbing to play more cards than anyone else in the game & give yourself more bites at the apple. & even that is a long shot.
none of this has much to do with the pregnancy, but it’s something i have been trying to wrap my head around for quite a while.