Thursday, May 27, 2010

An unexpected rant.

The first song I heard this morning was "Two Princes" by Spin Doctors. While maybe I should feel embarrassed for liking that song, I really don't. It's one of the most upbeat and fun songs I know. I turned it up and the kids and I had a mini-dance party in the bathroom while getting ready for the last full day of school. I love it when the morning starts off in a good way like that. Like one week, swear to God, every morning we heard "1901" by Phoenix. If you can listen to that song and not want to dance, something is seriously wrong with you, and, frankly, we should never be friends.

So today is the last day of one of the most difficult weeks ever. Or I hope it's the last day. A week ago I found out S made a ledger mistake and we were at a negative balance with a week to go before pay. First thing I did was to check the fridge and freezer- truly close to empty. I asked where we were with the credit cards- maxed on all but one. Awesome. We made a very minimalist grocery list, took the Easter ham out of the freezer to thaw, and planned a week of cheap eating. And no booze. (NOOOO!) Fine, okay. When things get tough, I can handle it. I am a put your head down and truck through it kind of girl. Like running uphill. If you put your head down and just look at the few feet in front of you, it doesn't feel as difficult. Because you're not looking at the long-haul, you're just looking at the short-term. I do this with life, too. And I did. And it was going alright, until the credit card companies started calling. And then the bank decided to post some pending charges after clearing a large check, causing us to go into overdraft on 7 charges at $35 a pop. And that's when I started to lose my cool.

Let me say this: I have dealt with the death of both of my parents to cancer, my mom the day after my 19th birthday, my dad last year. I recently lost my grandmother, who cared for my sister and me when my mom was sick. She was one of the most beautiful people in the world. In spite of these, THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN HAVING NO MONEY.

Death is one of those things that happens. I'm not saying it's not difficult, especially when it's sudden, but death is universal. Everyone dies, rich or poor, ugly or beautiful. And because of that, we can work through those feelings of loss. But what is there to work through when you are broke? How do you come to terms with buying white bread, sweetened with HFCS, filled with hydrogenated oils, and made with bleached flour, and then actually using it to make sandwiches for your kids' lunches? All the while knowing how awful those things are for their bodies. All the while knowing how important whole grains and natural fats and sugars are instead. And still packing those lunches and buying that bread because you know you can get 2 big loaves of it for the price of 1 small loaf of good bread. How do you come to terms with that?

And even worse, this is just one week for me. Sure, I'm looking for a part time job so this won't happen again, because it was, seriously, just God-awful for me. But I think of people who live their lives this way. In communities where there aren't grocery stores, just convenience stores with no fresh produce. Where WIC approves Wonder Bread and Skippy Peanut Butter and Doritos and hot dogs, but nothing organic. Where "Get a job" means McDonald's if you're lucky. And I'm no better. Because the p/t job I'm looking for certainly won't be at McD's. And as soon as the check posts in the account tomorrow I'm going straight to Target. Stupid consumerist that I am.

I recently read DESTROY ALL CARS by Blake Nelson, and, while his MC was kind of over the top in that way that teenagers are (and definitely not a reflection on the author at all, because I LOVE BLAKE NELSON), I get where he was coming from. We have established our society to depend on the things we build. Our families are so scattered, we can't visit each other without driving. Our food isn't local (unless you live in *those* communities and can afford it). Our buildings lack windows and force heat or cold air at us. And we destroy our world in the process. And two days ago I finished INTO THE WILD. Made me want to take my family and live off the grid. But I think of our social responsibility, and I don't know that it's right to be so individualistic when there is so much need in the world.

So what am I doing about any of this?

Yeah, good question.

Listening to: Local Natives "Gorilla Manor" on my laptop, through iTunes, while I sit drinking non-organic, non-Fair Trade coffee, with the air on and while MG watches Max & Ruby on our flat panel television.

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