Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rock Band life

I was in the bar after hockey feeling that my life, frankly, rocked. With mingled horror and fascination, I was hearing of the troubles one of my team-mates was having with her soon-to-be-ex spouse. The situation was nasty: neither party was talking to the other and a judge had ruled a time-share on the kid .... and the house. The latter meant that for half the week, my friend wasn't allowed in her own home and had to couch surf around the town.

I was deeply sympathetic but could offer little apart from a potential surfing location if she ever started to seriously consider the ice rink as a bedroom. Despite us being almost the same age, I had neither kid, husband (past or present), mortgage or any form of asset that wasn't straight forwardly mine. It made my curses at indecipherable code errors seem like a picnic. The kind you have on a ridiculously sunny day where the provider of said packed lunch has remembered you don't like celery. 

In short, my life more than rocked. It was the equivalent to Rock Band 3, Lego edition, on the Playstation.

Fortunately, other members of our team had more practical advice. With bankers through to car salesmen in our ranks, we had most problems covered. They offered opinions on credit ratings while I sat there ready for anyone who had a problem with their star forming galactic clouds. (No one did, but someone is bound to next week. I mean, I can't go a day without running into these kind of issues). Somewhat alarmingly, there were also a number of people who had battled similar problems, including facing bankruptcy and custody wars.

My rocking life acquired a second keyboard.

One banker-turned-student offered his take on the situation. "You don't want to declare bankruptcy," he advised. "Or it'll be seven years before you can get a decent credit rating again. Then you'll end up like Elizabeth."


I accidentally swallowed an ice cube and spluttered while it painstakingly melted in my gullet.

"She's got no credit," my team-mate helpfully continued. "So she has to pay the bank to get a Visa. Plus, she moves so much that it appears as though she's defected on her rent almost every year."


... Well OK .... I did have to have a secured credit card because border control hates credit ratings crossing between countries even more than people. And yes, I had moved roughly every year since graduating in a crazy work-related globe trot but .... but .....

Fine. It was all true.

"I built up a solid credit rating in the US," I protested. "And I only move because of my job!"

"Did you explain that to the bank?"


"Did it make a difference?"

".... No."

My rock band life was reduced to a microphone with a faulty battery.

I was offered an extra slice of pizza. Clearly, it was felt that I might not see another meal until our next game. I took it. 7 years as a student leaves deeply ingrained habits regarding refusal of food.

"Cheer up!" I was slapped on the back. "At least you don't have to contend with dividing a household with an ex-husband or boyfriend!"

"If you do start sharing a house though," Another team-mate lifted a finger. "Charge them rent. That way, even if you break up after years together, you can declare them a tenant and not a common-law marriage partner!"

It is quite amazing what you learn. I sincerely hope that information will be utterly useless to me in the future.

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