I am poor right now. Like really poor. Like the poorest person that I know.
I’m sleeping in my roommate’s room because I had to sublet mine to make rent. My cell phone has been disconnected for two months. I’m only eating peanut butter and jellies. I can’t really go above 14th Street because I don’t have Metro money. My current daily budget is $3. I have less than $5 combined in my checking and savings accounts.
All of that is what it is. I have a tendency to swing from extremely rich to extremely poor pretty swiftly. Its part money management, part free-wheeling lifestyle choices. I’m sure if I just committed myself to waking up at a decent hour and sitting behind a boring desk from nine to five then I would be in a much different financial place. But, alas, I can’t. Le sigh.
So, last night I got into an email exchange with a cute-ish boy on OkCupid. He invited me to drinks. I replied that I was too broke, maybe in a week or so. He was cool with that but could we talk on the phone until then? Then I had to break the news that I don’t currently have a phone because I am THAT broke. He took it in stride, I think. He sent me his number so I could hit him up when I do so that’s something.
All of this got me to thinking, should I be ashamed of how poor I am? And why is my initial reaction always to pretend that I’m better off than I am? I obviously didn’t do that with this guy but that’s only because he’s merely cute-ish and he’s on the internet so he kind of doesn’t exist. If it had, say, been the crush of my life then I definitely would have been singing a whole different song. I would’ve dug deep in my bag of Rich Living tricks for some Smooth Operator moves and brilliant bohemian excuses.
I guess the shame of being poor comes from feeling like a failure at the American Dream and Capitalism. I’m obviously not a failure at the American Dream because you can’t fail at a dream given its aspirational and more of a feeling than anything else. I’m all about the American Dream. I AM THE AMERICAN DREAM. (Or, at least I will be when I get some real, actual money.)
I am, however, a big, fat failure at Capitalism. I hate it. I don’t understand money no matter how hard I try to wrap my head around it. I understand needing things and sometimes even just wanting things but I really don’t get how to make money or keep it or why its really such a big deal. I think everything is over-priced, including myself when I work hourly wages, and that supply and demand is such bullshit. It propagates sheep. People only want stuff because other people have it. There is a whole industry dedicated to making people want/need things because other people have them. I know because I work in it. It is so very stupid and annoying. Capitalism works best for the creators of products or goods that are popular, which usually means easy to understand and mainstreamed to mass market. WHY DO PEOPLE ALL WANT THE SAME THINGS AND TO BE EXACTLY THE SAME? I. just. don’t. get. it.
People that don’t care about creating something dumbed down enough for a large majority of people to understand and covet don’t do well in Capitalism. People that can’t even understand how sheep think really don’t stand much of a chance. I’m so bad at understanding what drives the masses that I often see real shit and think its an ironic joke. Like when people were reading (I guess still are?) that Shades of Grey shit (I think that’s what its called). I thought people were reading it to make fun of it or because they were on some kind of personal anthropological journey into the sexual psyche. But, nooo, they were reading it because that’s what they secretly (not so secretly anymore?) want in a relationship/life. I’m just dumbfounded. You should see me when I encounter certain outfits in an airport or other public place that isn’t comprised of just my immediate crew. I mean, do these people not get the same fashion magazines that the rest of the world does? How the hell did that translate the pages of Vogue into THAT?
Now I’ve gone off on a tangent that anyone who knows me in real life has heard about a million times. I guess the moral of the this story is that I should just own up to living on a different financial plane than everyone else and be happy that I’m not dumb even if I am poor. So stop making me feel bad that I’m not just like you and that I don’t want an iPhone.*
*Even though you know I’ll be getting one shortly because Capitalism doesn’t really leave room for having anything else and still being a viable asset in the workforce/life. I hate touch screens. FUCKING BULLSHIT.