On Top of It #18 by Lisa Martens

Loans and Indoor Rock Climbing

What do repaying loans and indoor rock climbing have in common?

I’m terrified of both. I have the upper body strength of a T-Rex and two liberal arts degrees from New York institutions. Your girl is in trouble on both fronts.

I want to travel, and enjoy my life, and I think I’m starting to notice a crease on my neck and forehead, so the fear of death is settling in. An episode of Family Guy where Peter needs a kidney had me in tears the other day. I was wondering if I would have the courage to give my kidney to a loved one and a bunch of other bullshit. If I want to do the things I want to do, I have to take some control.

So I called my student loan provider and went on an income-based repayment plan, which will cost under $100/month. I had been terrified of calling them for months, and after a five-minute conversation realized that they weren’t as scary as I had remembered. A couple of years ago, I had gotten a particularly nasty call from a collector who told me I wouldn’t be able to get a job if my credit was bad. He started asking me if I ever wanted to own a house or a car. It happened to be the same day a family member of mine committed suicide. While I know it’s random, that experience runs through my mind every time I see Navient’s number on my phone.

But it’s something I have to deal with. And I (FINALLY) called back and set it up.  I also went bouldering at the new Brooklyn Boulders in Queens (the native New Yorker in me screams at this title for eternity). On the way, I saw the above quote spray painted into the sidewalk:

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And it sort of gave me renewed hope in humanity or something.

I also bought a ticket to visit a friend in Florida who works at Universal Studios, so hayyyy, I can get in for free! Traveling on the cheap. My job can be done from anywhere with Internet access, so I want to start taking advantage of that. Desperately.

Of course, I want to end up in a place more exotic than Florida, but this will do for now.


Lisa Martens

Lisa Martens (Episode 22) currently lives in Harlem. In her past 10 years in New York, she has lived in a garage on Long Island, a living room in Hell’s Kitchen, the architecture building of CCNY, and on the couch of a startup. She grew up in New York, Costa Rica and Texas, and she’s still not sure which of these is home. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing from CCNY. Her thesis, What Grows in Heavy Rain, is available on Amazon. Check out her website here. Follow her on Instagram here.