Don't Panic / Grace in Small Things

Blargh…also Honk!

Does anyone remember that terrible book “The Good Earth”?  Perhaps terrible is too strong a word, but I remember hating every minute of my slog through it.  Maybe it was because it was a required reading assignment and I have never been good when the word “required” comes up.  Perhaps it was just the subject matter. It was foreign, even for a girl who had grown up in Asia, as all Asians are not created equal no matter what your local xenophobe says.  I remember feeling oddly dirty after reading it, like the poverty and extreme actions taken had soaked in to my skin.

Some would argue that feeling was the point.  You should feel things from books and movies, a cathartic experience shows that you have absorbed the subject matter.  I think at that point in my life, that was subject matter I just did not want to see.  Maybe reading now, after my own experience on the Dole and struggles to find a job, I would take away a different outlook on the book.  Perhaps identify slightly with a few more of the ideas, and not feel as dirty considering what must be done to survive.

I have not yet been able to do it.  Like “The Ugly American” it has added itself to the list of books read too early due to my freakish reading abilities growing up that probably should have been waited on.  The ability to read the material does not necessarily correlate with the ability to ABSORB and understand the subject matter.

My, that was a long way to go to get to my central idea!  The point of bringing up “The Good Earth” was the idea of not saying anything out loud about prosperity as it will tempt the gods into running off with it in a variety of horrifying and guilt inducing ways.  I also read this article on Cracked about all the stupid habits you get into growing up poor.  Guess what, I have most of them.  The biggest is the obsessive need to “make up” for all the times you were not able to be there with a gift/donation to school/monetary support for the people who had to grow up with you and the people who provided your first apartment ever.  In their body.  And you ruined their cruise and you have heard about it for 29 years now.  The second and third are the obsessive need to know how much money you have RIGHT NOW and the tendency to look at unexpected money as some sort of cosmic mistake that must be spent/squirreled away as soon as possible in case someone gets wise and wants it back.

All these will tie together soon, I promise.

I work terribly hard, even through illness (no matter how many patient zero jokes I get!), which is good because I am always ill.  Really, if Poe wrote a story of my family, I would be the weird sister drifting along the hallways that gets buried prematurely and ruins her nails clawing her way from the family crypt.  This equals a bit of overtime, paid bills, petrol AND grocery money.  Three years ago, that was an IMPOSSIBLE dream.  Sacco has the same work ethic, but because he is a good boy scout from California rather than any other reason.  He had been prematurely separated from a job in the past as well, but with his skill set, he was doing odd jobs the very next day as an independent contractor.  This means, our bank accounts show in the black by more than $2.15 more often than not.  I have a tendency to spend this overage (as I see it) instantaneously on other bills or just stuff we have talked about wanting.

This year we are looking at doing things a little differently but that damn “don’t think about good stuff” is getting in the way.  We are discussing setting some of the dough aside to give back to our families that we do not see (We are in KC, MO, his family is in COS, CO, and my family is in Raccoon Crotch, NY {not a real town}).  Plans are in motion, especially with a kind of a big deal wedding coming up, but it is scraping against my very grain.  Two very specific yet very different plans are ALMOST concrete, making me feel very adult but throwing all my warning lights straight to orange and sending me looking for my Xanax.

It takes a hell of a lot to go from buying groceries on a credit card to handing over cold hard cash on something “frivolous” that is not even for you, or is slightly for you but mostly for everyone else too.  This year I am poised to do it.  All I can say right now is Blargh.

And also Honk.

Blarhgy Honk Honk Blarg....

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