Here I am, at my sister's place in Ontario. A surreal land of plenty.
A one way plane ticket was sent so I could attend my nephew's wedding. Sis lives in beautiful Southwestern Ontario in a two bedroom, two bathroom, full basement brick home with her hard working husband. Her now adult children (and grandchildren) all live within a 20 mile radius and everyone gets along well. I love my sis and her family.
Their lifestyle is middle class mainstream. This means they lack for little in the North American Capitalist arena. I find myself gasping at the way the money flows in this household: instead of one four litre plastic jug of ozonated, distilled water there are eighteen: instead of thawing three frozen chickens the night before a barbeque, my brother-in-law goes to the butcher to purchase 'fresh' chickens. Running to town in one of their two vehicles to buy one forgotten item is not a problem. Leftover food is thrown out, as bro-in-law won't eat it.
They have a dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, air conditioner, dehumidifier, two computers, two television sets and every conceivable kitchen gadget imaginable, not to mention the hundreds of tools, camping gear, extra clothing items, bicycles, sports equipment, tent trailer, utility trailer and sundry other STUFF that has been purchased.
Not being around others who live such a lifestyle for any length of time, I am astounded that this seems to be the norm.
When you live well below the poverty line, as do I, such monetary excess seems obscene, unnecessary and sickening. For me, nothing that requires spending my meager income is taken for granted. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is done without preplanning.
When I write, I forget that most people don't really have a clue as to how I make ends meet on a daily basis. It is a constant challenge, which I have mastered over many years of eking out a living.
Sis says that only I, of all my siblings, have an acquired 'Grace' to endure living well below the poverty level. To Sis, I reply: There is nothing graceful about poverty.