Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This is what I have to put up with

Since the Seattle PI (ostensibly the Other Paper, but really just a rebrand) is on life support, the only paper of record here is the Seattle Times. It features a lot of intellectually droopy writing, and the columnists are even worse. Here, for your delectation, is a fisking of a recent effort by one Nicole Brodeur. She's been writing for the Times for what seems like eons, so they must like her stuff. (Full article here.)

In the span of a few months, Jamee went from being a hotshot mortgage broker with a six-figure income, a home of her own, a BMW, a Suzuki motorcycle and a second house in the works, to being the newest resident of Jubilee Women's Center.

I would think a hotshot mortgage broker with any brains would have something my people call a "savings account". Especially with a six figure income.

Homeless. Broke. No options.

The option Jamee had was to spend less than she made. Oh, and not run a balance on the credit card(s). Same option I had, and used.

"I had to lose it all to figure it all out," she told me the other day. "I live in the moment now."

You were living in the moment then, sister. That's why you are in a homeless shelter now.

It's a tune we're all humming along to these days. But some, like Jamee, are singing loud.

Yes, this line actually got by the editor. I am of course assuming they have, and use, an editor. Again, I am not stupid enough to go from six-figure conspicuous consumption to living out of my car in less than a year, and neither are my friends, but Nicole Brodeur has no interest in writing about sane, mature individuals.

Jubilee, a nonprofit facility housed in a former convent on Seattle's Capitol Hill, is seeing more clients like her: Educated, accomplished women who always volunteered at social-service agencies and never dreamed they would ever become clients.

"How can I be overdrawn? I still have checks left!" One bright point--since they volunteered at social service agencies, they should know how to fill out the forms correctly.

But thanks to the banking crisis and the fast-moving flames of corporate layoffs, there is now a new homeless woman: Smart, savvy — and in shock at her fate.

Has to be the banking crisis. Couldn't possibly be due to lots and lots of bad choices, because they are "smart" and "savvy". I will have to get a new dictionary. Mine has very different definitions for those terms. Smart and savvy people realize accidents happen, and plan for emergencies. And when their income dries up, they STOP SPENDING MONEY.

One day, one of the banks she did loans with closed. By the end of the week, four were gone. When those deals dried up, so did her commissions.
Awash in mortgage and credit payments, she gave everything up and moved in with her mother in Tacoma. She became a personal banker, then got laid off. She finally took a job as a custodian at her own church, which gave her a room to stay in.

Something sounds funny here. She must have had a LOT of debt. People are walking away from mortgages all the time now. It also sounds like she resisted, at least at first, a "lower prestige" job. Look, if you are desperate you take anything legal. I know, I've done it. It isn't permanent, and it might give you some respect for people working those low-wage jobs. Yeah, you won't be able to afford a Beemer on that kind of paycheck. That's kinda the point.

"I used to help people get into houses, and consult them on ways not to get into this predicament," she said. "But when it came to me, there was nothing I could do about it."

So, maybe she wasn't that good at her job? Maybe that's why she is having trouble finding employment? Naaah. Couldn't be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've given up on newspapers, to be honest, both because of the non-news interpolations and because of the stupid way reporters write. If my school newspaper is any indication, j-schools don't teach students how to write anymore, never mind how to edit. (They've "edited" my letters into one-sentence paragraphs before--ARGGHHH!)

3:42 PM, February 18, 2009  

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