Kristina

I’m from Cleveland, Arkansas, and a bus. My parents were hippies, I traveled in a bus around the country. We were in the bus for 5 years back and forth across the country. We started in Cleveland. Then the family broke up and I moved down to Arkansas and was there until I was 20 something, and then I came up here to Massachusetts. I live in Cambridge.

People like to pretend that they’re not poor, they’re not suffering. People like to think that someday they will be the 1%. They’re not going to be. You’re not, and every day you ignore the situation going on around you, it just gets worse.

I’ve had my own house cleaning business for over 20 years and I’m also of the restaurant world. It’s very small. It’s just my clients and me. I’m not a businesswoman. I started all organically: restaurants, then one house leads to another. Before you know it you’re mostly cleaning houses. Business is great. Actually I’ve had the same clients for almost 22 years. We’ve been through many recessions together and we’re weathering this one. I’m just slow and steady. Slow and steady wins the race. It’s a relationship… I don’t have any overhead. I don’t have any drama. I don’t have to deal with people. It’s just me, myself and I. I get the job done. I don’t have to hang around on the clock milking hours or businesses. I go, get the job done, get out of there. They can count on me. They like me.

I used to have wealthy clients. They paid the least and demanded the most. Now all my clients are middle class. I have a teacher, a few small business owners, and a family. Yeah, the middle class: they give big bonuses at Christmas. They don’t ask anything of me. They let me do my thing. They trust my judgment. The wealthiest client I ever had was the daughter of the Hyatt fortune. She was very, very nice. I liked her a lot. But in hindsight, they paid me $50 to work 5 hours in house cleaning. I now make $30 an hour off the middle class. One client led to another, which led to another. I haven’t had to look for new clients in a while. My most recent ones are my neighbors. They were like, ‘what do you do?’ ‘I clean houses.’ ‘Oh, can you clean mine?’ I had room. But no, I’ve never had to advertise, and I’ve been in this over 20 years.

It suits my personality. It doesn’t suit my brain, my need for knowledge. But I’m better at being my own boss, and I really don’t like bullshit. I don’t like playing the game. I don’t like being a part of ‘politics’ on the job. And I’m a know-it-all. So I get to privately be a know-it-all. So it works out well for me. And I like freedom. I don’t think I could have a job that I’d have to be at for 8 hours a day, I’d go nuts. I’m too restless.

I’ve been involved the Occupy movement since they first started, but I’m not a camper or an Occupier, although I am occupying today in response to Black Friday alternative. It seemed like everybody found out the same way. I guess where I get a lot of my news, which is very important plug for Stephanie Miller. I started listening to her and she’s a comedian and funny. So I kind of get my news the way that I like to, which is through the eyes of a comedian. It’s the only way I can really stomach what’s going on in the world. I watch MSNBC, so when it happened, everybody knew. And then I came to Occupy Boston when they were just a week old and brought a bunch of supplies. And I’ve just been coming to the marches and donating whatever I can and whenever I can.

The corporations are treating Americans like a doormat. They treat America like rental property. It’s not something they care about.

For years I’ve been aware of what’s going on. I remember back when the housing bubble, before any of that exploded. I was appalled, and knew, that it was a bubble. And I’m not even educated. That’s not even my field. I just knew this was ridiculous. I saw houses in my neighborhood one week be $150,000 and then jump to $300,000. And I was like, ‘There’s no rational reason for this.’ And I knew something was going to happen. And I would also like to say that ACORN, who got slandered by the right wing before the housing bubble happened…we were trying to buy a house, and for some reason we ended up in an ACORN office; this was before any of the mortgage meltdown. All over the ACORN offices were warnings to the people of predatory lending. And what made me so mad when they went after ACORN is that no one in the news brought up that ACORN was warning people long before this ever happened. So that was in my mind. Also just that I was mad that it seemed like people around me didn’t know what was going on. All our rock venues get named after corporations, our bus stops. It felt like corporate America was suffocating. It seemed everyone was too into the Kardashians to give a shit. So when Occupy started, I was so happy that the kids, who I thought were just in a Kardashian love bubble, were waking up to what was going on around them and that we’re all suffering. And so I was like, “yes,” I’ve been waiting for the pushback. And I have to help push, even though I can’t be in a tent because I have a teenage son and I have my jobs. I like luxury.

It make me happy. I get so happy when I’m here. And the cops are fine. Boston’s kicking butt with it. They’re just well managed, well organized. The big march to the bridge November 17th, it was crap loads of people. All different kinds of people: white, black, young, old. It was a huge march. It makes me happy that they’re here because, what can you do really? You can try to get the people into politics. That takes time. This is like a visible reminder every day to people that something’s gone wrong in our country, in our world.

People like to pretend that they’re not poor, they’re not suffering. People like to think that someday they will be the 1%. They’re not going to be. You’re not, and every day you ignore the situation going on around you, it just gets worse. The corporations are treating Americans like a doormat. They treat America like rental property. It’s not something they care about. And the Americans, you can’t just let people run all over you. Otherwise, you’re a bitch… My husband and I, we’re musicians. When we had our son, we finally got our act together, started doing everything right. My son’s 15, and we’re still paycheck to paycheck even though we make more money. We bought a house, but every time he gets a raise or we advance, everything else increases. We never see the product of doing everything right. And that’s what actually makes me mad with the Wall Street thing. Crimes were committed and no one’s in jail. If I stole from Shaw’s market, I’d be in friggin’ jail. It’s a constant reminder.

I want fairness, a fair playing field. I’d like to see Americans themselves stop feeding the corporate monster they created. America created it its own damn self; you dug yourself in this whole by allowing white-collar crimes. ‘Everyone’s mad as hell,’ that’s what I hear. Everyone’s mad at Obama, everyone’s mad as hell, no one’s going to jail – well how did you contribute? You buy all the clothing with logos on it. You’re just feeding the giant. You watch the Kardashians. I just hope that the paradigm shifts, and America realizes you’re just as responsible for the state of America. Including myself.

My name is Kristina.

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